A group of hospital workers lost a legal bid against Mass General Brigham's COVID-19 vaccine requirement on the day unvaccinated employees face unpaid leave.
The lawsuit against the hospital system sought an injunction against the mandate that employees must be vaccinated against coronavirus. Eight employees named in the suit said they should be exempt for religious and medical reasons.
F. Dennis Saylor, a federal judge in Boston, denied their motion Wednesday after hearing arguments.
The lawsuit said more than 200 workers had been denied requests for exemptions.
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The workers said in the suit that they would be placed on unpaid leave if not vaccinated by Wednesday, and that they feared termination if they were not vaccinated by Nov. 5.
The Boston Globe reported that Saylor's ruling addressed the workers' request to postpone their unpaid leave.
"The issue, of course, is whether people will lose pay beginning today," Saylor said, according to the Globe. "There certainly is no issue that there is a human cost, or potential costs to this, but of course some of that inevitably falls under the heading of living with the consequences of one's choices."
The hospital system declined further comment beyond a statement it made Monday.
"Mass General Brigham joins many other leading health care systems in the United States in making COVID-19 vaccination a condition of employment, ensuring that patients are being cared for in the safest clinical environment possible. The evidence of COVID-19 vaccine safety and effectiveness is overwhelming and more than 98.4% of our employees are vaccinated," the statement read. "Getting vaccinated is the most important and responsible step each of us can take to put an end to this devastating pandemic and protect patients, families, and each other."
"Employer vaccine mandates do have quite high compliance among employees," former UMass Amherst professor Devon Greyson said of their lawsuit earlier this week. "We know that some may not be happy about it, but most of these people will eventually comply."