Essentia fires nearly 50 workers for not getting flu shot

Essentia said all employees must get the flu shot.
Essentia said all employees working within their health system must get the flu shot.
Derek Montgomery for MPR News

Essentia Health has laid off nearly 50 employees for failing to get a flu vaccine. The Duluth-based health care system announced last month that employees would be required to get a flu shot, or receive a religious or medical exemption. Monday was the deadline to comply.

In a statement, the company said more than 99 percent of Essentia's 13,900 employees have either gotten the shot, received an exemption or are in the exemption process.

Essentia says it is mandating the shot to minimize the risk of patients contracting the flu while under their care.

The United Steelworkers filed an injunction to try to delay the policy from going into effect, but a federal judge denied that request. At least two other unions are filing grievances on behalf of workers who lost their jobs.

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