Two local hospitals are facing legal action for their vaccine mandates.
Our Lady of Lourdes and Ochsner Lafayette General are being sued for requiring their staff to be vaccinated in the next few months or face termination.
Attorney Jimmy Faircloth is representing the plaintiffs in this lawsuit. He says it all stems from a large group of healthcare workers concerned about not being able to make decisions about their own health.
“Some of them might take the vaccine,” he said. “Some of these folks...they very well may have taken it. They don’t want their employer mandating it. That's the difference.”
Copies of the lawsuits obtained by KATC show each has more than 40 plaintiffs, some identified as being registered nurses and others as various positions within the medical field.
While employees at the hospitals were told they must be vaccinated by later this year, they were also given the option to opt out for medical or religious reasons.
“A lot of those forms have been denied,” said Faircloth. “There's been a number of them that have been denied. And others can’t be accomplished in time to meet the deadlines and quite frankly on the religious side don’t feel that it’s appropriate for the employer to force the employee to somehow prove they’re faithful enough to exert their exemption.”
KATC reached out to both hospitals to learn how many forms have been submitted and approved or denied. Administrations at both hospitals say that information is confidential.
Lourdes and Ochsner Lafayette General provided statements in response to the lawsuit.
In its statement, Our Lady of Lourdes says in part, “...service in the healthcare industry involves unavoidable risks and special obligations. We feel strongly that we have taken appropriate measures to meet those obligations and mitigate the risks associated with the pandemic...”
Meanwhile, Ochsner Lafayette General in part says they “...stand firmly behind the science and data that demonstrate the safety and efficacy of covid-19 vaccination. We continue to serve as a source of truth and provide ongoing resources, education, and vaccine opportunities to our employees and the community...”
You can read their full statements here.
Both hospitals say their vaccine mandate stands. Meanwhile, Faircloth expects the suit to go forward.
“I expect the court to respond pretty quickly to our request for a temporary restraining order to either grant it or deny it...and set a quick hearing on a preliminary injunction,” he said.
If this temporary restraining order is granted, then the hospitals would not be able to mandate the vaccine to those that are listed as plaintiffs in the lawsuits.
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