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Flu Shots Could Cost More IU Health Employees Their Jobs

IU Health officials now say nearly 200 employees will leave the company in protest of a requirement to get a flu shot. An IU expert says the move seems to conflict with a nearly 50-year-old law.

Eight IU Health employees recently lost their jobs for refusing to get an influenza vaccination, even though some of them filed paperwork seeking an exemption on religious or other grounds. In a release, spokeswoman Whitney Ertel says IU Health expects to lose approximately 175 employees who refused the flu vaccine.

IU Kelley School of Business Associate Professor Jamie Prenkert says the Civil Rights Act dictates employers should accommodate beliefs or give an exception from a policy, unless the exception would cause a burden on an employer.

“It covers discrimination on the basis of religion,” he says. “Not only does Title 7 say that it’s unlawful for an employer that is covered, by title 7 to discriminate against someone because they are a particular religion or faith,” adds Prenkert.

Monroe County Health Department Administrator Penny Caudill says the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention recommend everyone who is at least six months old be vaccinated each year to maintain public health.

” They also recommend it for all U.S. health care workers to be vaccinated annually, and part of that concern is not just to keep us safe but to also not spread infection to someone who maybe at high risk,” she says.

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