HACKETTSTOWN, N.J. (AP) — A New Jersey appeals court has ruled that a nurse was unfairly denied unemployment benefits after she was fired for refusing a flu shot.
June Valent was working as a nurse at Hackettstown Community Hospital in 2010 when the company began requiring employees to take the flu vaccine unless they had medical or religious reasons not to. Anyone who refused the vaccine would be required to wear a mask.
Valent declined the vaccine but didn’t state a medical or religious exemption, and agreed to wear a mask.
She was terminated based on her refusal of the vaccine and disqualified for unemployment benefits.
Thursday’s appellate ruling concluded that the hospital violated Valent’s right to freedom of expression by endorsing the religious-based exemption while denying her secular choice.