Last Thursday, a Louisiana appeals court issued a temporary restraining order against a healthcare company, stopping it from firing its employees who refuse to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
The decision, which was made by a three-judge panel in the state's 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals, came a day before non-profit health care provider Ochsner Health System's vaccination deadline on Friday (Oct. 29), where employees would have been fired for not receiving the shot.
About 39 Ochsner employers in Shreveport filed a lawsuit in the court of appeals. At the same time, nine in Monroe and 48 in Lafayette took the case to separate courts, asserting that the mandate violates their rights to refuse medical treatments and to have privacy.
According to NOLA.com, the temporary restraining order allows Ochsner employees to have a hearing and temporarily bans the healthcare company from firing or disciplining unvaccinated staff members.
"To get a temporary restraining order, you must convince the court when you file something that you have a substantial likelihood of success," Jimmy Faircloth, the attorney for the plaintiffs told the outlet. "This very important issue is a resounding wake-up call to all the employers in the state that have been hoodwinked into believing that you can do this."
On the other hand, Tulane Law School professor and attorney Joel Friedman contended that last week's ruling delays "the inevitable."
"There's no violation of any right to privacy here because the government has a compelling interest to require vaccinations under the circumstances to promote public health," Friedman said.
He added that the decision does not imply that the employees' claim that their privacy rights are being violated is valid, but rather it allows for a hearing on whether Ochner's vaccine mandate is unconstitutional.
"They want the judge to actually rule on the merits and give these people at least the hearings," Friedman said.
Ochsner Health had not commented on the lawsuit, nor did it provide the number of employees who were vaccinated by the deadline. According to CEO Warner Thomas, as of last month, 86 percent of employees and 98 percent of physicians and hospital leaders had received at least one shot.
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Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer. He is also the co-hosts of the For Your Soul podcast, which seeks to equip the church with biblical truth and sound doctrine. Visit his blog Blessed Are The Forgiven.