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Fired hospital employees refused flu shots

Jan. 2, 2013 at 3:49 PM

GOSHEN, Ind., Jan. 2 (UPI) -- Six employees of a Goshen, Ind., hospital were fired, and two more resigned, after they refused a mandatory flu shot in December, a hospital spokeswoman said.

Nurse Sue Schrock's religious beliefs caused her to refuse the shot, she said.

"They are biblical and they are God-led and they are who I am," Schrock said. "I just feel like it's a toxin I don't want in my body."

Joyce Gingerich, another nurse, had a similar reason for refusing the flu protection, saying, "I have a personal conviction that I don't want to have one in my body."

Schrock and Gingerich are among 26 Goshen Hospital employees who filed appeals with the hospital in October to seek exemptions from the mandatory shots for religious reasons, WSBT-TV, South Bend, Ind., reported Wednesday.

"The health and safety of our patients is our top priority," said hospital spokeswoman Melanie McDonald, adding a committee reviewed each religious appeal according to Equal Employment Opportunity Commission guidelines.

"If it were religious beliefs as defined by the EEOC, they would not have been terminated. Sometimes there can be a little bit of grey area, and people who have very personally-held religious beliefs will present those as religious opportunities for exemption," McDonald said, noting that of the 26 religious appeals, the committee granted 11 exemptions.

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