LA Supreme Court hears arguments on Ochsner’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate, acknowledge debate on issue

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Posted at 8:33 PM, Dec 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-07 23:06:36-05

The Supreme Court of Louisiana will soon rule if COVID-19 vaccine mandates can be imposed on hospital employees.

On Tuesday, the justices heard arguments over lawsuits against Ochsner Health employees in Lafayette, Shreveport, and Monroe.

KATC learned more about the arguments and who could be affected.

During Tuesday's arguments, four of the seven state Supreme Court justices acknowledged debate behind, even from a legal perspective, the issue before the court.

"Generally, the courts that have ruled in favor of companies have said that the employees are employed at will. If they're don't follow the policies of their employer, then they're subject to termination. The contrary argument is that you're mandating medical treatment, which an employer shouldn't have the right to do so again, until maybe eventually, this would get to the United States Supreme Court if it were filed in federal court,” said Ogletree Deakins Law Firm Shareholder Greg Guidry.

In a recent statement, Ochsner Health acknowledged the challenges at the state and federal level but maintains as a private employer the company has the right to enact policies to protect patients and staff.

According to Ochsner Health, nearly 99% of its employees have come into compliance.

If the mandate holds up, 280 employees out of nearly 30,000 will lose their jobs.

Attorneys for the plaintiffs and defendants have 10 additional days to send their final arguments to the court in writing.

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