Employees who refuse COVID-19 testing at Geisinger are reportedly granted a reprieve.
WILLIAMSPORT – Unvaccinated Geisinger employees who do not comply with the health system’s COVID-19 testing requirement have received a temporary reprieve from being fired, according to reports.
In a conference call earlier this week, Geisinger attorneys told US Middle District Judge Matthew W Brann, Gregory A Stapp said.
The Williamsport lawyer is representing 104 Geisinger employees from various locations who are seeking an injunction to keep them from being fired.
They claim that they are not subjected to testing because of their religious beliefs.
Employees at Geisinger are exempt from vaccination for religious reasons, but they must submit to COVID-19 tests twice weekly, whether they work in one of the company’s facilities or at home.
Three violations of the testing requirement would result in termination, according to the employees.
According to Stapp, the Geisinger attorney told the judge that the compliance deadline had been pushed back from Monday to next week.
Brann has scheduled a 10 a.m. hearing on the injunction request.
Friday is the weekend.
On Sunday, Stapp filed an amended complaint in which the number of plaintiffs was increased by about 30.
Theodore Federoff, a Geisinger Clinic employee, is the lead plaintiff in the case.
The plaintiffs argue that if the defendants want to protect their employees, patients, and visitors from possible COVID-19 infection, they should require both vaccinated and unvaccinated employees to submit to a PCR or Antigen test twice weekly.
They cite studies showing that vaccinated people are just as likely as unvaccinated people to spread the delta variant.
When it comes to testing, Stapp believes that it should be all or nothing.
Matthew R Van Stone, a spokesman for Geisinger Health System, declined to confirm what was said on the conference call, citing the health system’s policy of not commenting on pending litigation.
Anyone approved for a vaccination exemption, whether for religious or medical reasons, must submit to testing twice a week after the original court complaint was filed, he said.
Geisinger also released the following statement:
“As a private employer, our mandatory vaccine policy and the process surrounding it are legal, and similar policies have been upheld in state and federal courts.”
“Our mandatory vaccine policy has already resulted in a 50% reduction in both the number of Geisinger employees who test positive and those who are out on the job…
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