Former Mayo Clinic employees sue medical giant for wrongful termination, more expected

Published: May. 19, 2022 at 6:13 PM CDT
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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) – Two former Mayo Clinic employees filed a suit against the hospital this week, claiming, among other things, they were wrongfully terminated and discriminated against for their religion.

Attorney Gregory Erickson is representing Shelly Kiel of Owatonna, and Sherry Ihde of Zumbro Falls, who both filed in the federal courts this week. He tells KTTC he represents more than 100 former Mayo Clinic employees.

“The people’s major complaint was that there was absolutely no reasons given to them as to why their religious exemptions were denied,” Erickson said. “When fellow co-workers of theirs were granted.”

Erickson gave examples of a mother and two daughters who all worked at the medical giant, the mother was denied religious exception while the daughters were not. Another, a husband and wife.

Back in Jan., about 700 employees were fired from Mayo for failing to follow its vaccine mandate.

“When all of my clients ask for more detail and explanation as to what the reasons were they were all rebuffed in their attempts to do that,” Erickson said. “That just tends to make you think there’s something rotten in Denmark.”

Mayo Clinic stands by its decision to implement a COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

“Mayo Clinic stands firmly behind the evidence supporting the efficacy and safety of COVID-19 vaccines to help protect the health and safety of our patients, workforce, visitors and communities. The Mayo Clinic COVID-19 vaccination program remains in effect. Mayo Clinic will defend its vaccine program implementation and disputes many of the allegations in the lawsuits,” reads a statement Mayo Clinic sent to KTTC.

“Mayo Clinic recognizes that some employees have deeply held religious beliefs that led them to seek exemption from COVID-19 vaccination. In compliance with established laws, Mayo offered its employees the option to request a religious accommodation. The majority of religious exemption requests were granted.”

“Mayo Clinic implemented a required COVID-19 vaccination program for all staff to advance the primary value of Mayo Clinic – the needs of the patient come first. Based on science and data, COVID-19 vaccinations prevent hospitalizations and save lives among those who become infected with COVID-19. That’s true for everyone in our communities – and it’s especially true for the many patients with serious or complex diseases who seek care at Mayo Clinic each day.”

Mayo Clinic said it will not comment any further on pending litigation.

Erickson said it could be 18 months until these cases are seen in front of a jury.

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