Employee Had First Amendment Right To Refuse Flu Shot, N.J. Court Rules

, New Jersey Law Journal


Denying unemployment benefits to a nurse fired for refusing a flu vaccine for secular reasons violated her First Amendment right to freedom of expression, where hospital policy allowed employees to skip the shot on religious grounds, a N.J. appeals court holds in a precedential case.

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What's being said

  • Marie Petikas

    The vaccine debate continues and many educated and informed people question their safety, especially given that the flu vaccine still contains mercury, a known neurotoxin. Wearing a mask protects the patient and the nurse. I am grateful the judicial system has considered the nurse‘s health and safety as well as the patient‘s.

  • Catt Cantu

    While I applaud the fact that employers‘ can‘t force you to take shots you don‘t want, NOBODY who works with sick people, the elderly or children should be allowed to do so without putting the protection of their patients from infections first.

    If a nurse is told she should wash her hands before each patient to prevent the spread of infections and she doesn‘t, then the hospital would have been within its rights to terminate. No patient or patient‘s family wants to be treated by someone who is preventably liable to give an already sick person another illness to combat.

    Perhaps the hospital should have a policy that all patients whom the untreated nurse could come in contact with MUST be made aware of the risks and agree to her ministrations before she‘s allowed to even be in the room with them. If no families accept her help, then she‘s relegated to desk duty or a reassessment of her effectiveness and necessity as a health professional.

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