For the third time in recent weeks, the Mayo Clinic has been sued by former employees. Patti Jones, Karin Murry, Kathy Kerssen, Carrie Martinson, Jacki Stene, and Deb Koziolek filed a complaint in the District of Minnesota for alleged wrongful termination for refusing the COVID-19 vaccine over their religious beliefs.
Similar to the previous complaints filed recently, the plaintiffs say they are accomplished professionals who have worked with the Mayo Clinic for years. On October 13, 2021, the defendants notified all employees that they would be placed on unpaid leave and eventually terminated if they did not receive the COVID-19 vaccine as that would be considered “non-compliant” behavior. One plaintiff said they requested but was denied a religious exemption. Other plaintiffs held similar beliefs, yet all were denied exemptions despite positive performance reviews and many years of work with the Mayo Clinic.
Furthermore, the plaintiffs alleged that the defendants did not give a detailed reason why they were denied an exemption by saying “Specific feedback on individual requests will not be provided, it is not possible to provide individual feedback.” The Mayo Clinic “instructed” all of their employees to be “fully vaccinated,” to which the plaintiffs noted that that definition has increased over time to include booster shots. As a result, the plaintiffs are suing on the counts of religious discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and for state discrimination laws, breach of contract and wrongful discharge.
The plaintiffs are seeking actual damages, front and back pay, treble and statutory damages, compensatory damages, punitive damages, injunctive relief enjoining the defendants from pursuing further legal action against the plaintiffs and restoring their positions, attorney’s fees and costs, and other relief.
The plaintiffs are represented by Mohrman, Kaardal & Erickson, P.A., the same counsel as other recent lawsuits against the defendants.