It’s happening. The momentum has shifted. Office workers are now being fired for refusing to take flu shots. Remember when many of us thought it would only be school children? The pendulum has finally swung in a direction that’s not good for us at all. Lutheran Social Ministries has fired three office workers for refusing to get a flu shot or comply with donning surgical masks. All three women are considered to be healthy and worked in the accounting departments. They were OFFICE WORKERS, not nurses or Doctors or laboratory technicians. This is an important distinction to make because it represents a philosophical change and prompts a serious overstepping of our labor rights. According to Newsworks.org, the women intend to sue, however the Ministries position in terminating the women is strongly supported by Legal Scholars (so far).
Alan Schorr, the Cherry Hill attorney who represents two of the employees, said his clients intend to file a lawsuit for discrimination, although he declined to provide further details at this time.
Several legal scholars, however, doubted whether such a case would succeed.
“If everybody’s treated the same, then no one has a claim, no matter how silly the rule is,” said Charles Sullivan, a law professor at Seton Hall University. “If everybody has to comb their hair on their right side, then everybody’s treated the same and there’s no discrimination.”
“I don’t see any case at all,” added Alan Hyde, a professor of labor and employment law at Rutgers law school. “Unless there’s discrimination of some kind, most Americans can be fired for any reason or no reason at all.”
This is an employment rights issue and represents a dramatic change in general policy. These women did not work near patients, they worked in an office. This sets a precedent for future companies to demand similar actions by employees. The legal scholars aren’t accounting for the dismal slippery slope at play here. What happens if offices suddenly demand that workers take anti-depressants because an employee seems unhappy or antibiotics after they hear a cough? We can’t force employees to take shots just because we philosophically agree with the shots. We can’t force vaccinate adults (really anyone for that matter). Clearly, the women don’t have to take the shots, but they lose income. It is difficult to survive without income, so this is as good as forcing legislation on the people of our nation.
As stated, the women DID NOT work near patients, so that justification should be tossed out the window. Here is their attempt at justifying it, however.
Employers are increasingly making flu shots mandatory for workers, particularly in health care settings. Lutheran Social Ministries offers nursing home care, and elderly people often have weaker immune systems and are therefore particularly susceptible to complications if they contract the virus. As administrative employees, the terminated women did not have regular contact with patients, but shared a building with many workers who did.
Regardless of the potential for transmission, University of Pennsylvania infectious disease specialist Neil Fishman said having uniform regulations is standard.
“It is very difficult to set a policy and implement it differently in different areas across an organization,” he said.
This is a bad road for us to go down as a nation. Remember, just because you may agree with flu shots, this isn’t good for you. This opens a very dangerous door in terms of pharmaceutical companies relationships with your employment status.