Nobody wants this pandemic to end faster than restaurant owners, whose businesses have suffered greatly. To get restaurants up and running, New York State added restaurant workers to the list of people eligible for a vaccine.
Waitress Bonnie Jacobson’s employer, the Red Hook Tavern, made vaccination mandatory. Jacobson refused–citing fertility concerns. The Red Hook Tavern fired her, and declined to comment on Jacobson’s specific case in a story for The New York Times. The owner, Billy Durney, did tell the Times that the business’s policies had been revised to clarify how employees could seek an exemption from getting vaccinated.
To keep reading, click here: A Restaurant Fired a Waitress for Refusing the Covid-19 Vaccine
6 thoughts on “A Restaurant Fired a Waitress for Refusing the Covid-19 Vaccine”
This is a tricky situation. The EEOC has already taken a position that employers can terminate employees who refuse to get vaccinated, after going through the interactive process to determine whether an accommodation is required for either a disability or religion, and finding that either no accommodation is required, or no reasonable accommodation exists; that is, one that does not impose an undue hardship on the employer. Infertility can be a disability; however, concerns about future infertility likely would not be deemed a disability. Furthermore, the available vaccines have not yet been tested on pregnant women, and the CDC does not, currently, recommend them for pregnant women. The medical contraindications for the vaccines are few, so not many people would be able to avoid vaccination based on disability. Even fewer would qualify for a religious exemption, since an undue hardship for an employer exists if a proposed religious accommodation imposes more than a de minimus burden, an extremely low legal burden. Meanwhile, now some labor and employment lawyers are saying that — because the vaccines are only available under an Emergency Use Authorization — employers cannot mandate vaccinations. So, the law is murky right now. But, who would want to work in a restaurant without being vaccinated, or work beside an unvaccinated coworker or be waited on by an unvaccinated server, once vaccinations have been made available to them?
I think the restaurant management made a snap decision that they’re going to pay for. As has been mentioned, even hospitals are not mandating vaccinations for their staff, seems unreasonable to fire her right off the bat.
I agree they could have/should have given her time to talk to her doctor and allay her concerns. And going directly to firing when people ask questions isn’t a good look, but I also understand the urgency. Most restaurants are hanging on by a thread right now, so anything that increases the risk of their staff getting COVID, which usually results in at least a temporary shut down while everyone else gets tested, and/or makes patrons feel less safe about being there is probably going to result in them coming down hard.
Hospitals are mandating vaccinations for Covid just like they mandate vaccination for TB, Flue, MMR, etc. In fact it is standard practice to have an immunity array completed before begging work at Hospitals in the US.
Are there a couple of non-profit religious based hospitals out there that don’t do this? Possibly. But to claim “even hospitals are not requiring the vaccine” is inaccurate and disingensous.
That was no snap decision by the restaurant management, as posted by Kelley. The restaurant business to succeed means that patrons will be unmasked most of the time they are in the restaurant, which means the servers (waitstaff)will be directly exposed to droplets from both mouths and noses. I understand the concern of this apparently young woman about this vaccine on her potential pregnancies, but that’s just a conjecture. I did not see in the article that the restaurant fired her, per se. She was told that she would have to have gotten the vaccine to come back to work, hence her refusal to get vaccinated was the reason for the job loss. I am tired of anti-vaxers making mountains of reasons for not getting vaccinated and then blaming businesses for job losses. She will have to wait until more people have been vaccinated to expect her excuse to be validated and maybe by then she may have a valid current reason for the pregnancy issue. Until then, may she stay healthy. There are too many conspiracy theories flowing around and too many panicking fears ideas.
The Washington Post has a story today thoroughly debunking the Internet rumor that the COVID-19 vaccines somehow impair fertility or pregnancies.
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