Minnesota health care workers sue to block vaccine mandate

Published 5:56 pm Tuesday, September 28, 2021

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MINNEAPOLIS — Nearly 200 Minnesota health workers are suing their employers to block a pending requirement that they be vaccinated against COVID-19 or risk getting fired.

The lawsuit was filed in federal court late Monday against federal officials and about 20 providers that operate hospitals and clinics across Minnesota. It contends the lack of alternatives to vaccination infringes on the constitutional rights of those employees, who range from doctors and nurses to technicians. It seeks a temporary injunction to bar any terminations or steps to put unvaccinated health workers on unpaid leave while the case plays out.

“You’re talking about people who held the hand of people dying of COVID,” attorney Greg Erickson, who filed the case, told Minnesota Public Radio. “These folks risked their lives to help these patients and now they’re being terminated because their religious beliefs won’t allow them to take the vaccine? It’s really sad.”

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The Minnesota Hospital Association, a trade group that includes many of the defendants, said in a statement that its members have been “strongly encouraging” vaccinations as the “best path out” of the pandemic.

President Joe Biden this month announced a mandate that will require vaccinations for workers in most health settings. It’s expected to become effective by mid-October. Some providers already have vaccine requirements.