A former Hackettstown Regional Medical Center nurse was wrongfully denied unemployment benefits when she refused to take a flu shot in 2010 and did not cite religious reasons for doing so, an appellate court ruled.
According to lehighvalleylive.com, June Valent refused to receive a flu vaccination while working at the hospital, but agreed to wear a mask, per hospital policy. The hospital had created a mandate that employees receive the shot, unless they could state religious or medical reasons not to, the report said.
Valent stated neither, but refused the shot, and was subsequently terminated, the report said. An unemployment benefits review board denied her access to benefits because of her termination.
The appellate court opinion stated the hospital violated Valent’s right to freedom of expression by denying her a secular choice in the matter.