Healthcare Karen refuses to leave workplace after getting fired for refusing vaccine
Kentucky employment law generally recognizes that most employment is 'at-will' - termination of an employee does not require 'just cause'
BOWLING GREEN, KENTUCKY: A healthcare worker was seen refusing to leave her former workplace after being asked to do so for refusing the Covid-19 vaccine. The TikTok video shared by user @journeyintruth went viral after it was shared on the r/ByeByeJob subreddit - a forum for sharing images or stories of people losing their “job, a scholarship/admission, or another kind of opportunity due to their actions online or in person.” Reportedly, the video garnered 1.5 million views on TikTok before the poster disabled comments.
The text overlay informs that the video was shot at a medical center in Bowling Green, Kentucky, with “STOP THE MANDATES” written in all caps, referring to President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate. The Biden administration is requiring vaccinations for federal workers and contractors and for 17 million healthcare workers.
In the video, a woman wearing scrubs and sitting in a chair is approached by two employees. They question her presence at the workplace. The woman said she was “here to pick up some chips and stuff, and I just stopped to talk to her.” One of the workers, also wearing scrubs, then says, “So, you do not work here anymore,” adding that they’ve “had this conversation before” and that the woman spoke with human resources the day prior.
“I did not quit, and I was not fired,” the woman replies. “There’s only two options. I have not been fired; I did not receive a termination letter.” The employee then says, “You’re going to have to leave. We need your badge, and you need to leave,” to which, the woman says “No,” before asking, “On what grounds?” The employee then tells her that they “do not want this to get ugly” and tells the woman to “do the right thing” by leaving.
A male employee, who later identifies himself as the director of security, is then heard calling in for additional support before asking the woman for her name and if she got the vaccine. “No, sir. And I was not terminated, and I didn’t quit,” she says. She also accuses the workplace of taking away her “choice.” She says, “There was no choice. You guys took it away.”
A follow-up video, per the DailyDot, shows another male employee telling the woman and another worker, who seemingly also didn’t get the vaccine, that their access had been denied. When they ask if they’ve been terminated, he answers, “Yes you are… You are being terminated.”
On Reddit, one person commented, "Conservatives fought to give companies the freedom to fire her stupid ass whenever they feel like it. Now she's endangering her own health just because she heard some Conservative talking points. But when her broke a** is in the ICU, kept alive by Obamacare, you know she's going to blame it on those damn Democrats."
Another person commented, "I spend a lot of time in hospitals, a lot of that time on medication that knocks me out or real close… I used to have a lot of trust in medical professionals, now I’m not so comfortable. I hate feeling like I need to ask a nurse or doctor if they were vaccinated. If they say no I’m worried about what else they may decide is opinion over scientific fact. I always saw medicine as a profession of reason and safety, and I know most aren’t like this but it unsettles me none the less."
A CBS News affiliate reported on September 16 that the deadline for all staff to get vaccinated in two of Louisville’s healthcare systems has passed, and those who chose not to get it are out of a job or were told they’ll be fired.
UofL Health announced the vaccine requirement in May. Employees had until September 15 to receive the first dose. The statement said that fewer than five employees chose to separate their employment due to the vaccine requirement. Norton Healthcare announced its vaccine requirement in August and set a deadline for all staff to receive their first shot by September 15. More than 99 percent of its employees are vaccinated, according to a statement. Employees who did not comply were sent letters of termination effective October 1 if they do not receive the vaccine before then.
Baptist Health employees reportedly have until October 31 to get the vaccine. The report said that all medical and religious exemptions were to be sent in by September 15. Baptist Health Floyd Chief Medical Officer Dr Emily Volk said that more people are changing their minds about the shots. “The good news is we are seeing folks who haven’t gotten vaccinated up to this point, who are now stepping up to get vaccinated,” she said. “I think it’s somewhat because of these mandates, and they’re finally coming around.”
As per the National Law Review, Kentucky employment law generally recognizes that most employment is “at-will”. This means that employees serve at the pleasure of the employer, and termination of an employee does not require “just cause.”