From the Land of Enchantment (and Breaking Bad) comes the first federal lawsuit over vaccine refusal. A New Mexico corrections officer is refusing his public employer’s mandate to be vaccinated against COVID-19. His argument? The vaccine is not fully FDA approved (all vaccines have emergency use approval). He claims that being forced to take the vaccine or be terminated would violate his rights under the 14th Amendment. He is also claiming he was not fully informed of the risks, known and unknown, which the EEOC recommends. His lawyer was quoted as saying: “You can’t be forced to be a human guinea pig when a product is experimental.”
He is a first responder and the vaccine is mandatory. Savvy readers will note that his objections fall outside the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) or religious accommodations. His employer is not backing down and insists the vaccine is necessary to protect the workplace. The county being sued has the highest COVID-19 numbers in the state.
Will he prevail? Well, his attorney sought an injunction to keep the county from firing or disciplining the officer before a ruling is issued. That injunction was denied on procedural grounds, allowing the prison to proceed with termination before the case is resolved if they choose. The judge did order expedited briefs so this case will be decided in a matter of weeks. And of course, we will let you know.
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