Mayo Clinic Sued Again For Employee COVID-19 Vaccination Policy

Another suit was filed on Tuesday in the District of Minnesota against the Mayo Clinic, this time filed by former employee Anita Miller. Miller filed suit against the defendant when they allegedly wrongfully terminated her as a result of her refusal to take the COVID-19 vaccine for religious reasons. The case parallels a similar one filed last week.

Plaintiff Miller worked as a registered nurse at the Mayo Clinic for over 21 years. The complaint notes that one of her job performance reviews described her as a “very well-respected member of the neonatal transport nursing team.”

On October 13, 2021, the Mayo Clinic announced that they would be implementing a vaccine mandate. If an employee failed to comply, they would be placed on unpaid leave and eventually terminated. They explained that employees could qualify for a religious exemption but noted that “applications for a religious exemption will be denied if the panel determines the applicant does not demonstrate a sincerely held religious belief.”

The plaintiff completed her request for a religious exemption, writing that she was in opposition of the “use of vaccines produced with or tested by aborted baby cells” and that receiving the vaccine would be a “sin against God.” Her request was denied in November of 2021 on the basis that the request did not meet the criteria for a religious exemption accommodation. Her appeal of the denial was also denied.

Since the plaintiff refused to take the COVID-19 vaccination, she was terminated despite submitting “good-faith statements of her sincerely-held religious beliefs, with explanations of how her faith constrained her from accepting the COVID-19 vaccination.”

In March of 2022, the defendant suspended both its vaccine mandate and testing program, meaning that employees who were terminated would no longer be forced to test weekly and would no longer be terminated for objecting to testing.

The complaint cites religious discrimination and failure to accommodate under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, religious discrimination under state law, discrimination and failure to accommodate under the ADA, wrongful discharge, and breach of contract/promissory estoppel. The plaintiff is seeking actual, compensatory, and punitive damages, and injunction preventing the defendant from taking further illegal action and requiring the defendant to restore the plaintiff to her position, litigation fees, and any other relief deemed equitable by the Court.The plaintiff is represented by Mohrman, Kaardal & Erickson, P.A.