SMOKINCHOICES (and other musings)

January 24, 2013

X-worker sues / flu shot

Ex-worker sues over flu shot

Woman’s refusal based on veganism

By Amanda Lee Myers ASSOCIATED PRESS

CINCINNATI — A former longtime customer-service representative at an Ohio hospital has filed a lawsuit after she was fired for refusing to get a flu shot because she is vegan.

  • Many hospitals require employees to get a flu shot because of their contact with vulnerable patients. But some employees take issue with the requirement and refuse.

Sakile Chenzira, a 58-year-old Cincinnati woman, was fired from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital in December 2010 for refusing to get the shot as required of all employees at the hospital. It’s unclear whether she had direct contact with patients. Chenzira cited her veganism, whose practitioners do not consume animal products; the flu vaccine contains a small amount of egg protein.

  • Chenzira sued the hospital on Dec. 28, 2011, seeking a minimum of $650,000, and the case is set to go to trial before a jury in July.

In the lawsuit, Chenzira accuses the hospital of violating her civil rights and discriminating against her religion.

The hospital argues that veganism is not a religion, comparing her situation to a 1992 case involving a Ku Klux Klan member whose lawsuit over being fired for participating in a pro-Hitler rally was thrown out by a federal judge who ruled that the KKK is political and social in nature, not religious.

  • “Chenzira has pled no more than a dietary preference or social philosophy for what she consumes, which is insufficient to state a claim for religious discrimination,” the hospital’s attorney, Eugene Droder III, wrote in his request in April to have the lawsuit thrown out.

Chenzira argued that her veganism constitutes a moral and ethical belief as strong as any religion and even cited Bible passages that she argued backed her up.

Late last month, U.S. District Judge S. Arthur Spiegel agreed to throw out one claim in Chenzira’s suit, but ruled that she still can pursue her claim of religious discrimination, writing that it’s plausible that Chenzira “could subscribe to veganism with a sincerity equating that of traditional religious views.”

Chenzira has told The Cincinnati Enquirer that being vegan guides her entire life.

  • “When they force you, I don’t think that’s fair,” she said. “I just feel they should be more open to people’s religious beliefs.”

Droder declined to comment, citing the pending litigation, except to say, “The hospital did the right thing here.”

With an earlier-than-usual flu season that has been worse than recent mild seasons, more hospitals have begun requiring their staffs to get the flu shot and cracking down on those who don’t.

(My comment:    I believe that a majority of people believe that it is unjust to force people to comply with actions they are opposed to and in this case – actions she believe would be harmful to her body.  Actually, a FREE PEOPLE should not have to be required to do to their bodies that which they believe is harmful.    It is immoral and corrupt. This would and should apply to all which any person deems appropriate and correct for him or herself.  After all – this is STILL America and citizens do have freedom of choice.   

No medical treatment of any kind should ever be mandated for or against – ANY TREATMENT: whether it be vaccinations, cancer treatments and so on.   God does not reside in the AMA alone.  This is beyond the province of the courts.  In my opinion – it is criminal.   If enough people would and could suffer these corporations to cough up enough money on say a couple of hundred thousand  or million dollars for all the harm they do. . . believe me, it would be a different story and that perhaps is the saddest part of all – – that it should come down to money rather than principles of decency.   

Furthermore, it is pathetic that anyone should have to drum up phony concepts in order to play this deceitful, evil and corrupt game.  Damn, this riles me up – my blood is boiling again.  This crap is going to kill me.  Jan)

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