Employer mandating flu shot

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The Nursing Association argued in its lawsuit that the hospital’s mandated flu vaccinations violated a state regulation that explicitly bars hospitals from requiring employees to receive the vaccine if they don’t want it.

The regulation at issue stated: “A hospital shall not require an individual to receive an influenza vaccine” if the employee has medical or religious reasons for refusing or if “the individual declines the vaccine.” Nurses unions are divided on the issue.

Editor’s Note: Health Reform Watch is very pleased to welcome Joseph C. This is Part One of their two-part post; we will feature Part Two tomorrow.

Hudesman, attorneys at Proskauer Rose in Newark, New Jersey, to the blog today.

Several states also have enacted rules requiring hospitals and other entities to implement flu vaccination mandates or to make such vaccinations available for certain health care workers. For instance, a Massachusetts regulation provides that hospitals must ensure that personnel receive vaccination for seasonal influenza, unless the vaccine is “medically contraindicated” or runs against the individual’s religious beliefs. Nobody wants to come down with a coworker’s case of flu, and employers needing all hands on deck don’t want significant numbers of workers out sick.Therefore, some employers—particularly those in the healthcare field—mandate flu shots for everyone. An operator of assisted living facilities asked if it’s legal to require all staff to get a flu shot as a way to protect the safety of residents.The employees claim their refusal was due to their religious beliefs.The hospital has denied that the employees’ religious beliefs were the reason they refused the vaccine.

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