Northwell Health, the largest private healthcare provider in the state of New York, confirmed on Monday that it “had to exit” 1,400 staff members who refused to get vaccinated for COVID-19.
In a statement to Fox News, a company spokesperson opted to focus on the fact that most of its members chose to get vaccinated, and after the noncompliant were fired that Northwell Health is now 100% vaccinated as a company. A feat that she said will allow the company to “provide exceptional care at all of our facilities, without interruption and remain open and fully operational.”
The spokesperson said in the release: “Northwell regrets losing any employee under such circumstances, but as health care professionals and members of the largest health care provider in the state, we understand our unique responsibility to protect the health of our patients and each other. We owe it to our staff, our patients, and the communities we serve to be 100% vaccinated against COVID-19.”
“Northwell believes that having a fully vaccinated workforce is an important measure in our duty to protect the health and safety of our staff, our patients and the communities we serve,” she added.
Gov. Kathy Hochul made a final hour appeal to the unvaccinated to join the “family” of the vaccinated.
“To those who have not yet made that decision, please do the right thing,” the Democratic governor said at a press briefing, according to Fox News. “A lot of your employers are anxious to just give you the jab in the arm and say you’re part of the family, we need your help to continue on.”
On Tuesday, Hochul had moved on from the loss of so many jobs by tweeting about the “coolest news of the day,” which was a report from the New York Times that William Shatner, the 90-year-old actor who played Captain Kirk in “Star Trek,” will launch to the edge of space this month on New Shepard, a tourist rocket built by Blue Origin.
“Taking Live Long and Prosper to new heights,” Hochul tweeted.
The governor also announced that she signed legislation to launch a $25 million relief program to help New Yorkers in need and support small businesses — which will presumable now include many of the workers fired on Monday.
Adding insult to injury, the employees fired because of refusal to get the vaccine are not eligible for unemployment insurance without a doctor-approved request for medical accommodation.
Citing legal experts, USA Today reported last month that private companies are free to set conditions of employment as long as they do not violate existing state and federal laws, and that there is no federal law prohibiting companies from requiring vaccines.
“Guidance from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission says employers are not prohibited from requiring employees who are physically at the workplace to get vaccinated, as long as the requirements comply with other workplace laws,” the newspaper reported. “For example, the requirements must provide reasonable accommodations for those with disabilities and religious exemptions. Similarly, the U.S. Justice Department wrote in a legal opinion that businesses may lawfully require employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19.”
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