A group of 117 health care workers is suing Houston Methodist Hospital over its policy requiring employees to receive the COVID-19 vaccine as a condition of remaining employed.
The plaintiffs are asking the court to issue a temporary injunction against the hospital, arguing its policy violates both state and federal law.
“For the first time in the history of the United States, an employer is forcing an employee to participate in an experimental vaccine trial as a condition for continued employment,” their attorney, Jared Woodfill, told The Center Square.
The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court of Montgomery County. Plaintiffs argue the hospital’s policy violates state law and has caused injury to them in the form of lost wages, loss of earnings capacity, lost benefits, lost future earnings and mental anguish, among others.
The hospital’s policy also violates federal law, the complaint argues, which specifically states that a drug issued under Emergency Use Authorization is experimental and cannot be mandated as a condition of employment.
On March 31, 2021, Houston Methodist Hospital became the first major health care system in the United States to require its employees to take the experimental COVID-19 mRNA gene modification injection or be fired, Woodfill said.
“No matter what’s going on in the world, taking care of your health should always be a priority,” marketing material distributed by the hospital reads. “At Houston Methodist, our primary and specialty care doctors are available to provide expert care for you and your family safely. And we are taking it one step further to protect you: Houston Methodist will require all employees and employed physicians to get a COVID-19 vaccine.”
Houston Methodist employs 26,000 people. Its CEO, Marc Boom, told the Houston Chronicle that 99% of staff “have met the requirements for the hospital’s vaccine rule, and said vaccines are part of the ‘sacred obligation’ required of health care workers.
“It is unfortunate that the few remaining employees who refuse to get vaccinated and put our patients first are responding in this way,” Boom said. “It is legal for health care institutions to mandate vaccines, as we have done with the flu vaccine since 2009. The COVID-19 vaccines have proven through rigorous trials to be very safe and very effective and are not experimental.