153 Houston Methodist employees resigned, fired over vaccine mandate

A total of 153 Houston Methodist employees either resigned during a two-week suspension period or were terminated June 22 for not complying with the health system's COVID-19 vaccine mandate, a spokesperson confirmed to Becker's.

The employees were part of a group of 178 workers who were suspended because they did not get fully vaccinated or were not granted an exemption or deferral. Spokesperson Gale Smith said employees who became compliant during the suspension period returned to work the day after they became compliant.

Houston Methodist rolled out its mandatory vaccination policy March 31, with April 15 as the deadline for managers to receive at least one dose or get an exemption. More than 99 percent of the management team had complied by that deadline. By June 7, all 26,000 employees were required to comply. Those who did not comply were suspended for two weeks. Houston Methodist said if workers failed to comply in two weeks, it would "initiate the employee termination process," according to The New York Times.

The mandate sparked pushback from unvaccinated employees.

Jennifer Bridges, RN, and 116 other workers, sued over the mandate, arguing that it is illegal and forces workers to get an experimental vaccine to keep their jobs.

But U.S. District Judge Lynn N. Hughes ruled June 12 that the health system did not violate state or federal law or public policy with its requirement. That decision has been appealed

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