Updated at 2:15 p.m., Oct. 19, 2021.
SOMERVILLE, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — Eight Mass General Brigham employees are suing over the hospital's vaccine mandate.
The lawsuit, filed on Sunday in U.S. District Court, alleged that the state's largest hospital system unjustly denied religious and medical vaccine exemptions from employees.
Defendants in the suit aim the claim suit is not meant to be a challenge against the mandate, but rather that them being denied their religious and medical exemptions is discrimination and a violation of federal law.
"The vast majority of these plaintiffs heroically fought on the front lines of the pandemic last year, working long hours under extremely stressful conditions to save lives and ensure that people received quality medical care," the lawsuit reads. "Their sincerity and commitment to battling COVID-19 should be without question."
In the lawsuit, they claim at least 229 employees were denied their requests for exemption. The lawsuit seeks to put an injunction in place that would prevent those denied exceptions from having disciplinary action taken against them, such as being put on leave or being fired.
The hospital announced its vaccine mandate this June and the deadline is this Wednesday, Oct. 20. Any employees who have not received at least one vaccine shot by Wednesday could be placed on unpaid leave, while those who are not fully vaccinated by Nov. 5 face being fired.
In a statement to WBZ NewsRadio, Mass General Brigham said they have "communicated regularly with employees since we announced the mandate and had a process for employees to request an exemption for medical or religious reasons."
"We received a number of exemption requests, and each request was carefully considered by a knowledgeable team of reviewers," the statement said.
WBZ's James Rojas (@JamesRojasWBZ) reports: