Federal Court Reignites Controversial COVID-19 Vaccine Lawsuit Against Mayo Clinic

The Mayo Clinic faces renewed legal scrutiny as a federal court revives a lawsuit, dismissed in 2023, over COVID-19 vaccine mandates conflicting with employees’ religious beliefs. U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit overturned the dismissal on May 24.

Federal Court Reignites Controversial COVID-19 Vaccine Lawsuit Against Mayo Clinic 1

You can read the original article here.

A federal court has concluded that the lawsuit against the Mayo Clinic, which was dismissed in 2023, must proceed.

Federal Court Reignites Controversial COVID-19 Vaccine Lawsuit Against Mayo Clinic 2

A panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit decided on May 24 that the five sacked employees who sued the Minnesota-based health nonprofit had all credibly argued that their religious convictions conflicted with the clinic’s need for the COVID-19 vaccination.

Employees claimed that the Mayo Clinic had illegally violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act by refusing to accommodate their religious views in several lawsuits that have now been combined. Three employees requested religious exemptions from the nonprofit’s rule, but their requests were turned down; the other two employees had their requests approved but objected to the stipulation that they had to test for COVID-19 weekly.

In 2023, U.S. District Judge John Tunheim dismissed the lawsuit because certain plaintiffs had failed to establish their religious objections to the mandate or demonstrate how the testing requirement went against their convictions.

According to the Eighth Circuit’s latest decision, the judge’s conclusions were incorrect.

Employers are prohibited by federal employment law from terminating workers or taking other negative actions against them because of their faith. The three employees, Shelly Kiel, Kenneth Ringhofer, and Anita Miller, whose requests for a religious exemption were turned down, all claimed that their Christian convictions kept them from accepting the COVID-19 vaccination, partly because they disapprove of abortion and the use of aborted fetus cells in the development or testing of the COVID-19 vaccine.

“The district court erred in finding that the plaintiffs failed to adequately connect their refusal of the vaccine with their religious beliefs,” U.S. Circuit Judge Duane Benton said. “At this early stage, when the complaints are read as a whole and the nonmoving party receives the benefit of reasonable inferences, Kiel, Miller, and Ringhofer adequately identify religious views they believe to conflict with taking the COVID-19 vaccine.”

Despite being granted religious exemptions, the other two claimants declined to participate in weekly testing. One said it “violates her conscience to take the vaccine or to engage in weekly testing or sign a release of information that gives out her medical information.” The panel concluded that each of them had a plausible excuse: their religious convictions ran counter to the testing.

At one point in his decision, Judge Tunheim stated that pro-lifers’ aversion to vaccinations is unrelated to religion because many Christians who support abortion are also anti-vaccine. Judge Benton refuted that viewpoint, citing an earlier decision by the US Supreme Court holding that the protection of religious views under the constitution is “not limited to beliefs which are shared by all of the members of a religious sect.”

Judge Tunheim’s decision was overturned by the circuit court, and the case was sent back to him.

President Bill Clinton appointed Judge Tunheim. President Donald Trump chose U.S. Circuit Judges Ralph Erickson and Jonathan Kobes, who joined Judge Benton, a George W. Bush appointee, in the unanimous decision.

The Minnesota Human Rights Act (MHRA), which forbids companies from discriminating against employees based on characteristics like religion, was another area in which the circuit court decided in favor of the plaintiffs. According to Judge Tunheim, the law does not give workers who claim they are the victims of religious discrimination, simply a cause of action. The appeals court says that’s not accurate.

“Due to Minnesota’s precedent of (1) construing liberally the MHRA, and (2) providing its citizens with commensurate, or greater, protections than under federal law, the Minnesota Supreme Court would decide that the MHRA provides protection against failures to accommodate religious beliefs,” Judge Benton wrote. “The district court erred by finding that the MHRA does not provide a cause of action for failure to accommodate religious beliefs.”

Recently, GreatGameIndia reported that Florida doctor Dr. Joseph Ladapo, citing a study that identified a high concentration of DNA molecules in mRNA vaccines, claimed that the COVID-19 vaccine causes cancer.

GreatGameIndia is being actively targeted by powerful forces who do not wish us to survive. Your contribution, however small help us keep afloat. We accept voluntary payment for the content available for free on this website via UPI, PayPal and Bitcoin.

Support GreatGameIndia

Leave a Reply