Suit claims Morehead hospital refused to grant all requests from workers for religious exemptions from Covid-19 vaccine mandate

A woman who says she was fired by St. Claire Medical Center for not getting a Covid-19 vaccine is suing the hospital in federal court, alleging that the Morehead hospital denied the religious exemption she claimed, and those of all other employees who claimed such an exemption.

Teffany Smith of Olive Hill filed the lawsuit in federal court, but cited the state law banning religious discrimination by employers. Smith, who was a lab assistant, says she was fired Sept. 15, 2021, the day that each hospital employee was required to be vaccinated.

The suit says Smith submitted an exemption citing several passages of Scripture and a letter from a pastor, Joyce Stapleton of New Life Victory Church in Olive Hill, who said the vaccine “violates laws put forth within us by a higher power at the time of conception. . . . We believe in healing and that is what our God provides.” The church website lists different pastors.

Smith also “alleges the hospital did not engage in a good-faith dialogue and consideration of proposed accommodations for not receiving the vaccine,” Taylor Six of the Lexington Herald-Leader reports. “St. Claire Healthcare officials did not respond to request for comment.”

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