A federal judge has declined to prevent HCA from implementing a flu-vaccine policy in five hospitals in Northern California despite anecdotal evidence presented by a workers' union that the policy was exposing workers to negative public attention.
Judge lets HCA continue with vaccine mandate
U.S. District Judge Jeremy Fogel declined to grant the Service Employees International Union a temporary restraining order to halt the Nashville-based chain's vaccination policy, which requires direct-care workers in Northern California to either receive a seasonal flu vaccine or sign a declination form explaining why not.
Administrators are requiring vaccinated workers to wear stickers on their name badges denoting their status in order to monitor compliance with the policy. The union sued, saying the sticker policies publicly “stigmatized” workers who may have had legitimate health or religious reasons for declining the vaccines.
The judge ordered the union and the hospitals to enter into expedited arbitration to resolve the dispute.
In similar legal battles across the country (Print subscription required), arbitrators and politicians sided with the unions in Iowa and New York, while judges have ruled in favor of the hospitals in Washington state and Nevada.
“These claims are not insubstantial. However, the policy the hospitals seek to implement directly implicates public health, and it is supported by the clinical judgment of infection control experts at the hospitals,” Fogel wrote in the order.
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