A group of former and current workers at a hospital system in Texas on Monday appealed a judge’s ruling two days prior that dismissed their vaccine mandate lawsuit.
The plaintiffs, who sued the Houston Methodist Hospital system, appealed the ruling to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.
Over 100 former and current employees filed the lawsuit last month, arguing that their employer mandating they get the vaccine as a condition of continued employment amounted to an attempt to force participation in an experimental vaccine trial.
The three COVID-19 vaccines authorized for emergency use in the United States have not received approval from drug regulators.
U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes on June 12 dismissed the lawsuit, asserting the vaccines are not experimental or dangerous. Hughes, a Reagan appointee, also ruled that receiving a vaccine would not be an illegal act, so termination for refusing to get a jab would not be a wrongful termination.
Lead plaintiff Jennifer Bridges “says that she is being forced to be injected with a vaccine or be fired.”
“This is not coercion. Methodist is trying to do their business of saving lives without giving them the COVID-19 virus. It is a choice made to keep staff, patients, and their families safer. Bridges can freely choose to accept or refuse a COVID-19 vaccine; however, if she refuses, she will simply need to work somewhere else,” Hughes said.
After filing the appeal Monday, Jared Woodfill, attorney for the plaintiffs, told The Epoch Times in an email that the suit “is just one battle in a larger war to protect the rights of employees to be free from being forced to participate in a vaccine trial as a condition for employment.”
Woodfill said that being employed should not be conditioned on serving as a “human guinea pig” and vowed to pursue the case to the Supreme Court if necessary.
“If this ruling is allowed to stand, employers across the country will be able to force their employees to participate in a vaccine trial as a condition for employment. This legal battle has only just begun. Ultimately, I believe Methodist Hospital will be held accountable for their conduct. Sometimes the wheels of justice move slower than we like,” he wrote.
Gale Smith, a spokesperson for the hospital system, declined to comment on the appeal.
Dr. Marc Boom, the system’s president and CEO, said over the weekend that Hughes’ ruling meant that “we can now put this behind us and continue our focus on unparalleled safety, quality, service, and innovation.”
“All our employees have now met the requirements of the vaccine policy and I couldn’t be prouder of them,” he added. “Our employees and physicians made their decisions for our patients, who are always at the center of everything we do. They have fulfilled their sacred obligation as health care workers, and we couldn’t ask for a more dedicated, caring, and talented team.”