TULSA, Oklahoma (KFOR) — The Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office says it has sent a letter of suspension to a health care company following a court ruling.
Last week, a Tulsa District Court judge granted Oklahoma Attorney General John O’Connor’s request for a temporary restraining order against Ascension Healthcare.
The health care company, which operates facilities in Oklahoma and 18 other states, demanded that all health workers receive a COVID-19 vaccine by Nov. 12.
O’Connor says the employees were not given a religious exemption option.
The restraining order was to prevent Ascension Healthcare from firing employees over the COVID-19 vaccine requirement.
However, the Oklahoma Attorney General’s office says it has learned that Ascension has allegedly violated the temporary restraining order.
“It appears Ascension is determined to trample on the heartfelt religious beliefs of the health heroes it employs, despite the Court’s clear mandate,” Attorney General O’Connor noted. “Ascension employees who have been suspended in violation of the Court’s order will simply want to continue working in the same accommodations as those who have been granted medical exemptions.”
As a result, O’Connor has sent a suspension letter to Ascension.
The letter demanded that Ascension immediately stop defying the court order and give the Oklahoma Attorney General’s office time to investigate allegations of religious discrimination. It also told Ascension to immediately reinstate any suspended or fired employees who applied for a religious exemption.
“The TRO will remain in effect until dissolved or amended by the appropriate court,” O’Connor said. “According to the TRO introduced by the court, Ascension is required to revoke all such suspensions, terminations, or other adverse actions that occurred prior to November 12, 2021 and must provide all Oklahoma employees an additional thirty (30) days with requests for religious accommodations.”
Ascension Healthcare sent KFOR this response last week:
“As a leading healthcare provider, we continue to put the safety of our employees and those we are privileged to serve at the forefront of everything we do. That’s why we’ve required our employees to receive both the COVID-19 vaccine and the flu vaccine.
We want patients to have the reassurance and comfort that our doctors and nurses, other clinicians and staff, who work in any of our hospitals or other healthcare facilities, will either be vaccinated against both COVID-19 and the flu, or on the appropriate occasions, waivers or modifications, comply with additional infection prevention protocols. Patients and their loved ones should have that peace of mind when they entrust us with their care.”
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The state of Oklahoma has also filed a lawsuit against the federal government to end mandatory vaccination against COVID-19.
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