The judge rejects the request to block the vaccination mandate to the LANL
ALBUQUERQUE, NM (KRQE) – The deadline for Los Alamos National Lab employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19 or lose their jobs, came and went on Friday. It comes as a judge rejected a request by more than 100 LANL employees to block the laboratory’s vaccination mandate.
On Friday, Judge Jason Lidyard rejected the request of the 114 employees asking for the blocking of the vaccine mandate at the LANL. Jonathan Diener is a lawyer representing some of the plaintiffs, who argued before the judge that LANL should be considered a government entity.
“To me, it is perfectly clear that the job is a benefit that the government gives to these people at LANL and that they take it away because they are exercising their constitutional right to decide what goes on in their bodies,” he said. said Diener.
LANL demanded that all its employees be fully immunized by October 15, or face dismissal. Employees with religious exemptions will go on vacation or unpaid leave until pandemic conditions improve. Judge Lidyard said it was a “correct” religious accommodation.
“It was not a real accommodation and I am shocked that the judge accepted this as a legitimate accommodation for these people,” said Diener. In the lawsuit, the 114 employees claim that the vaccine’s mandate violates their constitutional rights and that management has created a hostile work environment. The lawsuit also questions vaccines and the transmission of COVID-19.
In a statement to KRQE, a LANL spokesperson said:
“Triad values the contributions of all employees, and our decision to impose the vaccine was only taken after much consideration. The safety and health of our employees remains our top priority as we fulfill our national security mission and, therefore, our vaccination mandate remains in effect. We appreciate the careful consideration and consideration provided by the tribunal on the important issues presented at the hearing. “
As of Saturday, October 16, LANL said 96% of its employees were fully immunized. It wouldn’t say how many employees will be on leave as of Monday or how many employees will be laid off for not being vaccinated.
For employees who may have changed their mind and received the first dose between October 1 and October 15, they will be on leave without pay or on vacation until they are fully immunized.
Diener said they plan to appeal, present evidence at a jury trial or go through a mediator to work with LANL.