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Photo: Kerem Yucel / Getty Images
Photo: Kerem Yucel / Getty Images

Mayo Clinic fired 700 unvaccinated employees, the U.S. Supreme Court to weigh in on federal mandates

Employers and healthcare facilities have the option to craft their own vaccine policy, while the Supreme Court looks to decide on the issue regarding…

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The Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. fired 700 health care employees Wednesday for refusing the company’s vaccination policy, an issue that has employers on opposite stances.

Data released from the medical center showed that only 1% of its 73,000 employees were let go.

Mayo Clinic informed its staff that they had until Jan. 3 to receive their first shot of the COVID-19 vaccine or verify medical or religious exceptions, following an interim final rule by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) that went into effect in November 2021.

The rule stated that most healthcare facilities with Medicare or Medicaid providers would be required to implement a vaccination policy.

Employers of 100 or more employees must follow the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing Emergency Temporary Standard, requiring staff to vaccinate or test negative every week before returning to work. 

Mayo Clinic, which has additional locations in Arizona and Florida, told fired employees that they would have an opportunity to be rehired if they decide to vaccinate at a later time.

“If individuals released from employment choose to get vaccinated at a later date, the opportunity exists for them to apply and return to Mayo Clinic for future job openings,” the clinic wrote in a letter.

Peggy Bennett, a Republican of the Minnesota House of Representatives, issued a statement on Dec. 8, 2021, to the medical center saying the vaccination policy is controversial to its image.

“We started hearing from a large number of highly concerned Mayo employees a number of weeks ago concerning this shift in internal policy,” said Bennett. “This top down, heavy-handed, all-or-none employee policy does not fit the reputation or image we know the Mayo Clinic to have.”

Bennett also referenced the tight situation health care providers face nationally, as the Biden administration’s vaccine mandates loom.

Federal mandates

On Friday, Jan. 7, the U.S. Supreme Court will rule on the two federal vaccine mandates for large employers and health care workers.

The ruling will determine a challenge of abuse of power against the presidential administration from opposing businesses, faith-based institutions, and governing officials.

States already have the option to pass their own vaccine mandates on employees with 26 now requiring health care workers to take the jab.

What’s at stake in the court’s decision is health care facilities at risk of losing government funding for their public services. Others challenge the mandates because they say the administration bypassed receiving a “clear statement” from Congress.

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