Tina Moore, a Pickerington, Ohio woman, filed a lawsuit this week against Nationwide Children’s Hospital for illegally firing her and discrimination because she refused to get their mandated Covid vaccine due to her devout, "sincerely held" Christian beliefs.
According to the Columbus Dispatch, the complaint states that the Columbus-based children's hospital, "did not respond to Moore's offer of additional information, did not seek clarification about her beliefs, and did not permit her to provide any further explanation beyond what she was able to provide on the hospital system's 'Religious Exemption Request Form.'"
According to the federal civil complaint, in August of 2021, Nationwide Children’s Hospital mandated that all staff had to be fully vaccinated against Covid or provide an approved medical or religious exemption by March 15, 2022.
Moore, a 27-year veteran of the hospital who served as a surgical scheduler, filed the exemption request based on her Christian beliefs through email in February of 2022.
According to local news, her request was denied because she did not properly fill out the "Religious Exempt Request Form."
Soon after filing the report, HR told her that she "failed to provide sufficient information showing that her religious belief, practice or observance prohibited her from receiving a COVID-19 vaccination," reports WOSU News.
Moore claims through her lawsuit that she followed up with HR, asking what exactly she needed to provide, but that they did not respond.
"Moore offered to provide additional clarification, details, scripture, and additional information to support her sincerely held religious beliefs," the lawsuit reads.
She was asked to leave the building on March 11, 2022 via email and was placed on unpaid leave.
One week later, another email informed her that her employment was terminated starting April 15.
According to the lawsuit, filed in the US District Court in Columbus, the hospital approved several exemptions on religious grounds starting in late 2021 because "93 percent of our staff are now vaccinated, which dramatically reduces the chance of staff transmission in the workplace." The hospital did not include Moore in their exemptions.
Moore's lawsuit claims her termination violated her civil rights and discriminated against her because others were approved whereas she was not. The Ohio Revised Code, cited in the lawsuit, "prohibit employers from discharging an employee due to religion and prohibit employers from eliciting or attempting to elicit any information concerning the religion as a condition of employment."
"The Supreme Court has made it clear that it is not a court’s role to determine the reasonableness of an individual’s religious beliefs, and that 'religious beliefs need not be acceptable, logical, consistent or comprehensible to others in order to merit First Amendment protection," the lawsuit reads.
She has asked for a jury trial and "Moore is asking for lost past and future income and benefits, compensatory damages for 'physical pain, emotional distress (and) humiliation' and punitive damages 'to ensure the conduct of (the hospital), as demonstrated herein, does not continue, and to punish (the hospital) for inflicting the harm (Moore) has suffered and making her choose between her faith and her job,'" according to the suit.
Local 10TV news asked Nationwide Children’s Hospital how many of their employees were given exemptions to the Covid vaccine but received no answer. A spokesperson for the hospital did say in a statement, "While we cannot comment on ongoing litigation, Nationwide Children’s Hospital deeply values a diverse, inclusive workforce and routinely grants exemptions based on sincerely held religious beliefs."
The Director of the Center for Healthy Weight and Nutrition at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Dr. Ihuoma Eneli, made news last week for saying that childhood obesity should be treated with drugs and surgery.
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