ADA: Court Allows Nurse to Proceed with Claim for Exemption from TDAP Vaccine

July 25, 2018 | Strategic Insights for Health System


In a non-precedent-setting opinion, a United States court of appeals reversed a district court's dismissal of a discrimination lawsuit a nurse brought against her employer under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The medical center where she worked required all clinical employees to get the TDAP vaccine (tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis). When the nurse refused, the center ultimately terminated her employment. Although the appeals court called the issue "close," it concluded that the evidence in the nurse's favor was legally sufficient to survive a motion to dismiss.

The medical center where the nurse worked notified employees of the vaccine requirement on April 22, 2015, setting a May 15 deadline. The nurse, who suffers from severe anxiety and eosinophilic esophagitis, missed the deadline. When the center notified her that she was not in compliance, she replied...

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