Employees of St. Elizabeth, the largest employer in Northern Kentucky, are required to be vaccinated by Oct. 1 or obtain a medical or religious exemption. Employees who were not granted exemptions have until Nov. 1 to receive a second dose, if they opt for one of the two-dose vaccines. St. Elizabeth Healthcare has more than 10,000 employees.
In his ruling, U.S. Judge David Bunning stated that plaintiffs in the case “have not established a strong likelihood of success on the merits with respect to their claims under the ADA and Title VII” in terms of stopping St. Elizabeth Healthcare from requiring vaccination in terms of employment.
The employees of St. Elizabeth Healthcare failed to establish that their individual liberties were being violated by the vaccine requirement of the hospital operator, which has the right to set employment terms, said U.S. District Judge David Bunning in Covington, Kentucky.
“Actual liberty for all of us cannot exist where individual liberties override potential injury done to others,” Bunning said, noting that the hospital group’s vaccine mandate is “substantially less restrictive” than the one in the 1905 case. (A Massachusetts smallpox vaccination law.)
Judge Bunning, 49, arrived on the bench with what looked like a conservative pedigree. A former federal prosecutor, he was appointed to the court by President George W. Bush. He is a son of former Senator Jim Bunning of Kentucky, a conservative Republican who is a former major league pitcher.
Judge Bunning is the judge that found county clerk Kim Davis in contempt for defying the federal court and ordered her held in jail.