Officials said Monday that UCHealth fired more than 100 employees, including 54 in Metro Denver, who refused to comply with the Colorado health system’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate.
A state mandate announced in August allows Colorado health care workers to be fully vaccinated or obtain an approved medical or religious exemption by October 31. But UCHealth implemented its mandate with a deadline of October 1.
Of UCHealth’s 26,500 employees, 119 — or less than 0.5% of the system’s workforce — did not receive a COVID-19 vaccine or one of the exemptions, spokesman Dan Weaver said in an email.
Weaver said in a statement, “Anyone who left UCHealth employment is welcome – and encouraged – to re-apply for their positions after they have decided to be vaccinated against COVID-19. should do and return.”
The vaccine mandate has actually improved staffing levels, Weaver said in the statement, as fewer workers are testing positive for the virus.
Denver’s vaccine mandate went into effect on October 1, and more than 98% of the city’s workforce either vaccinated or approved a waiver.
Two surveys in June found that nearly half of illiterate workers said they would quit their jobs if the shot became mandatory, but most employers who have publicized data about their mandates reported that the number of quitters was actually about 1 % to 2%.
Several factors may be at play: In June, mandates were much less common, making it more likely that a non-vaccinated person could get a similar job in a facility that would not require the shot. A federal mandate unveiled in September requires employees in all health care facilities that receive money from Medicare or Medicaid — nearly every facility in the country — to be vaccinated, which means that most non-vaccinated employees The only option for PTSD is to give up health care altogether.
A handful of hospitals, mostly in New York state, have reported losing up to 5% of staff, and some have cut non-emergency services, however. Smaller and more rural hospitals tend to struggle more with staff after shots became mandatory, due to resistance to the vaccine in their communities and the lack of a deep pool of potential workers.
People who have been fired for refusing to vaccinate are unlikely to qualify for unemployment benefits, although a statement from the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment said the unemployment office will consider individual circumstances, Such as why the employer considered vaccination necessary and why the employee refused .
“Generally, (unemployment insurance) benefits are for Coloradans who lose work through no fault of their own,” the statement said. “If being vaccinated against COVID-19 is relevant to job performance, the employee will likely not be eligible for UI benefits.”
Last week, a pediatrician and a student sued the University of Colorado Anschutz School of Medicine over its vaccine mandate after they objected to the use of cell lines derived from abortions in the 1970s, which were involved in the development of vaccines. were part of. The student’s tuition and fees were refunded, and the doctor is on paid leave until the outcome of the case, his lawyers announced Friday.
The Civil Rights Act requires employers to accommodate religious beliefs unless doing so causes “undue hardship”, such as interfering with workplace safety or interfering with the rights of other employees. It does not specify what the accommodations must be, however, as employers may re-employ unvaccinated workers or put them on leave.
Employers are not necessarily obligated to provide a vaccine exemption, and can legally ask questions to determine whether an employee is honest in their religious beliefs, regardless of whether they belong to a faith community.
For example, one hospital in Arkansas asked its staff that they objected to cell lines not taking 28 drugs that also used embryonic cells at some point in their development. The list included common over-the-counter drugs such as aspirin, Tylenol and Benadryl, according to NPR. None of the vaccines, or medicines listed, contain embryonic cells.