Monday, May 03, 2021

Nurse Fuentes Should've Claimed The Religious Exemption And Kept It Moving...,

 fox26houston  |  Fuentes says a supervisor encouraged her to file for a religious exemption.

"And I said, 'Well, I don't have a religious exemption. I'm not doing this for religious reasons,' and she said, 'I know, but we'll help you fill it out, and at least this will save your job,'" Fuentes claims. "So, because I don't have a religious reason and it's a personal reason, my beliefs and my feelings aren't as worthy as someone who has a religious reason?"

Fuentes says when she did not agree to stay quiet about the reason for her departure, she was not allowed to complete her final two weeks and escorted out of the hospital. 

In response, Houston Methodist stated they do not advise those who decline the vaccine for personal reasons to file for a religious exemption. Adding:

"We have a process in place for the employees who want to request a religious/medical exemption--- like we have had for the flu shot for more than a decade. Not all exemptions are granted."

In the meantime, Fuentes says she was prepared to wear masks at work and show lab results of COVID-19 antibodies since she'd recovered from the disease.

She adds, she regularly worked in a surgical unit, but volunteered to work in the COVID-19 unit.

"I want to be known that I was a safe nurse when I worked at the height of the pandemic and volunteered to work and did work in the COVID unit. So, I was a safe nurse then, not vaccinated, and I was able to turn back around and work in my unit without being tested and without being vaccinated," Fuentes said.

Houston Methodist adds:

"Our employees have the choice to stay or leave—we are not forcing anyone to get a vaccine. But over everything, we must put patients first. It is our obligation as health care workers to do no harm to our patients, who are among the most vulnerable in our community."

Generally, employers are able to require employees to get vaccinated. Clayton Craighead, an employment attorney in Houston, says there are the two exemption that both deal with accomodations. 

"One of them is an accomodation under the American with Disabilities Act and the second exception is an accomodation on a religious basis. In order to establish an entitlement under the ADA, the employee would have to provide some sort of documentation from a doctor explaining why he or she, could not or should not receive the vaccination due to some medical condition or disability," Craighead explained.