Monday, June 14, 2021

Court finds that employer vaccine mandate does not violate the Nuremberg Code

In what is possibly the most predictable result of all-time, a court has dismissed a Texas lawsuit in which the plaintiffs alleged that a hospital's employee vaccine requirement violated the Nuremberg Code. Yes, you read that right, the Nuremberg Code. See, Bridges v. Houston Methodist Hosp.

Look, there are some dicey vaccine issues in the workplace. Most of which revolve around disability and genetic information discrimination, reasonable accommodation, and the requirement that medical information be kept confidential (see, e.g., EEOC guidance on vaccines). There are also, of course, healthy debates about what policy will work best for any given employer - but that's generally their choice. 

Arguing that the general rule of "at will" employment is somehow abrogated by the Nuremberg Code because the vaccine has only been authorized for emergency use and not yet fully authorized?  Take it away Judge Hughes:

She also says that the injection requirement is invalid because it violates the Nuremberg Code, and she likens the threat of termination in this case to forced medical experimentation during the Holocaust. The Nuremberg Code does not apply because Methodist is a private employer, not a government. Equating the injection requirement to medical experimentation in concentration camps is reprehensible. Nazi doctors conducted medical experiments on victims that caused pain, mutilation, permanent disability, and in many cases, death. 

Although her claims fail as a matter of law, it is also necessary to clarify that Bridges has not been coerced. 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.

Look, I get it - sometimes in public interest law you have to stretch a little. This lawsuit appears to be a stretch waaay too far though.

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