The vaccine mandate at Our Lady of Lourdes will remain in place for now, a Judge has decided.
The judge says that, at this time, the vaccine mandate will still be in place as it has not caused harm. The judge says the challenge could be revisited when and if someone loses their job due to the vaccine mandate.
Implementation of the vaccine requirement at Lourdes will occur over several months concluding December, 2021, the hospital released.
There are deadlines for two groups. The Leaders group includes physicians, all managers, APPs and residents. Members of that group must be vaccinated by October 31 or be placed on unpaid suspension. If they're not vaccinated by November 30, they'll be terminated. The staff group includes everyone else, and must be vaccinated by November 30 or be placed on unpaid suspension. If they're still not vaccinated by December 31, they'll be terminated.
A spokesperson from Lourdes responded to the ruling saying, "We appreciate today’s recognition from the court that our process is good and the confirmation that we provide protection for our employee’s rights, as well as the safety of our patients. Our Lady of Lourdes moves forward serving our community and those most in need."
Attorney Jimmy Faircloth, who represents the Lourdes employees, calls this ruling "progress."
"The judge, I think, clearly understood, she stated specifically she finds these are fundamental rights. She rejected the argument that these types of rights only apply to public employees, she held that everybody has these rights. It's clear to her, she believes Lourdes is very close to violating rights. She made it clear that if in fact these rights are violated, if somebody is terminated or their exemption is wrongfully denied, she's going to be interested in hearing about that," said Faircloth.
Last week, a district judge rejected a lawsuit against Ochsner Lafayette General's vaccine mandate.
Judge Thomas Frederick dismissed the case, saying that Ochsner is a private employer the mandate is not unlawful or unconstitutional.
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