2 MSU employees fired for failing to comply with COVID-19 vaccine mandate – Community News
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2 MSU employees fired for failing to comply with COVID-19 vaccine mandate

EAST LANSING, MI — A few Michigan State University employees who are currently suing the university over its COVID-19 vaccine mandate have been fired for lack of compliance.

According to their attorney Jenin Younes of the National Civil Liberties Alliance (NCLA), Kraig Ehm, an MSU video producer, and D’Ann Rohrer, a lecturer at the Mason County college extension, were fired for not receiving their vaccines or getting an approved exemption. . ).

The two were added to the federal lawsuit against MSU President Samuel Stanley and other officials for not allowing natural immunity waivers to the university’s vaccine mandate. U.S. District Judge Paul Maloney, in an October ruling, upheld the mandate as initially announced this summer.

read more: Thumbs up for Michigan State’s COVID vaccine mandate, thumbs down for natural immunity, federal judge says

Without specifically referring to Ehm or Rohrer’s employment status, MSU spokesman Dan Olsen said MSU is currently applying disciplinary action to “any person who has not been vaccinated and has no exemption.”

“Individuals who violate the vaccination guideline will be subject to disciplinary action, including expulsion from campus and termination of employment or discharge from the university, for the health and safety of the MSU community,” he said in a statement. adding that multiple reminders were sent to employees.

Ehm and Rohrer both had COVID-19 and, according to Younin, have natural immunity that prevents them from “presenting a threat” to the MSU campus.

“MSU has chosen to follow a vindictive path that cannot be supported by any science,” Younin said in a statement. “Thanks to the courageous plaintiffs in this case — along with many other Americans — we have the opportunity to challenge this unconstitutional and unscientific approach in court.”

According to the university database, 90.8% of MSU students, faculty and staff have reported full vaccination. Another 2.8% reported partial vaccination, while the rest showed no response. Since an initial rise of 146 COVID-19 cases reported after a week of withdrawal, there have been no more than 80 cases in any week since then.

“COVID-19 vaccines are one of the most powerful and one of the few tools we have to prevent illness, serious illness and death,” Olsen said.

In Maloney’s October ruling, he said MSU should be careful with the vaccine mandate, as the science on natural immunity is not finalized at this point. The first lawsuit, filed by Younin and the NCLA on behalf of MSU employee Jeanna Norris, had cited a study in Israel showing that natural immunity can last longer than a vaccine, although Michigan health experts have said the science is far from settled.

read more: What we know right now about natural immunity to COVID-19

NCLA amended the complaint on Friday, Nov. 5, to add Ehm and Rohrer, saying both received advice from Dr. Hooman Noorchashm of Pennsylvania that a vaccine on top of their natural immunity would be “not medically necessary.” Noorchashm’s last job listed on his LinkedIn page was a 2017 post as an assistant professor of surgery at Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals in Philadelphia.

Lawyers argued that while Ehm and Rohrer have natural immunity and guidance from Noorchashm not to get the vaccine, their constitutional rights were violated when their employment was terminated.

“By threatening adverse professional and personal consequences, MSU’s directive not only harms the plaintiffs’ physical autonomy and dignity, but also forces them to endure the stress and anxiety of choosing between their work and their health,” the NCLA said in a press release, adding that Ehm and Rohrer will “continue to experience concrete and specific harms as a direct result of MSU’s vaccine policies.”

Maloney previously wrote that employment is not constitutionally protected in the case of vaccine mandates, as Michigan law states that “employment relationships can be terminated at the discretion of either party.”

Therefore, he wrote, workers can be fired for not receiving the vaccine, and refusing a vaccination is not a constitutional right.

“Plaintiff cannot demonstrate that she will suffer irreparable harm without a court order,” Maloney wrote in October, adding that Norris “has no right to work at MSU” as she chooses to refuse the vaccine.

The local, state and federal COVID-19 guidelines point to the need for a COVID-19 vaccine mandate, Maloney wrote.

“If MSU’s vaccine mandate is not enforced, the harm to others and the public could be serious, according to health officials,” he wrote at the time. “The purpose of the mandate is to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and protect people. Imposing MSU’s policies would increase the risk based on the current record.”

Read more from The Ann Arbor News:

‘Naturally immunized’ worker sues Michigan State University over vaccine mandate

Federal court denies temporary restraining order on Michigan State University vaccination mandate

Violators of COVID vaccine mandates at University of Michigan, MSU can expect ‘education first’ discipline