153 employees at Houston-area medical network out of jobs for refusing COVID-19 vaccine

Houston Methodist
Posted at 10:40 AM, Jun 23, 2021

More than 150 employees at Houston-area hospitals are officially out of jobs after refusing to comply with the health care system's policy requiring employees to get a COVID-19 vaccination.

A spokesperson for the Houston Methodist system confirmed to KHOU-TV, NPR and CNN that 153 employees who were suspended earlier this month for refusing to be vaccinated had either resigned or been terminated as of Tuesday.

Houston Methodist made headlines in March by setting deadlines for its employees to get vaccinated. The New York Times reports that the network required manager-level employees to be fully vaccinated by mid-April, while most other employees were told to have at least one dose by June 7.

Earlier this month, CEO Dr. Marc Boom announced in an email to staff that 178 employees had been suspended for two weeks after they failed to get a shot by June 7. At that time, he said that employees who were not fully vaccinated by the time their suspension was up would be fired.

Following Boom's announcement, more than 100 employees filed lawsuits against the medical system in an attempt to stop the policy's implementation.

However, on June 14, a U.S. District Court judge dismissed the lawsuits, saying that there was nothing in federal law that prevented Houston Methodist from adopting such a policy.

An attorney representing the employees threatened to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court, if necessary.

Houston Methodist did grant exemptions to about 285 employees for religious and medical reasons, according to the Washington Post.

According to CNN, nearly 25,000 employees at Houston Methodist have complied with the vaccine mandate.

Houston Methodist operates nine hospitals and outpatient centers in the Houston area, according to its website.