Judge issues order keeping Quincy health care workers’ jobs in place pending vaccine lawsuit

Judge issues order keeping Quincy health care workers’ jobs in place pending vaccine lawsuit

ADAMS COUNTY, IL — An Adams County judge says a health care employer cannot terminate employees who aren’t complying with Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

The mandate has health care workers having to prove they are vaccinated or submit to weekly tests. If not, they aren’t allowed to work.

Attorney Thomas DeVore filed the lawsuit in Illinois’ Eighth Judicial Circuit on behalf of several employees of the Quincy Medical Group, Quincy Physicians and Surgeons Clinic and Blessing Corporate Services, Inc.

The staff members, the lawsuit says, are “currently facing imminent termination of their employment solely due to not agreeing to be vaccinated or submit to testing for COVID-19.”

DeVore said a judge Thursday issued a temporary restraining order against Quincy Medical Groups after arguments.

“Under the Illinois Department of Public Health Act and the Health Care Right of Conscience Act that these peoples’ jobs couldn’t be impaired or discriminated against for refusing to vaccinate or test,” DeVore said.

DeVore also argues requiring vaccines and testing to prevent the spread of an infectious disease requires a court-ordered quarantine. He’s secured other TROs against school districts keeping schools from excluding children or masking children without court-ordered quarantine that must include due process.

He said Thursday afternoon’s temporary restraining order against the medical company keeps the employees’ status in place. None of them have been fired, DeVore said.

DeVore notes that state law does allow for the influenza vaccination to be required under the Influenza Vaccine Law, but that “COVID-19 is not an influenza virus.”

“To the extent the legislature believes that health care workers should be compelled to vaccinate for coronavirus, or testing for coronavirus, they would create a similar type of law to the influenza law, and since they didn’t the Health Care Right of Conscience Act would be suggested to cover their ability to still chose when it relates to that vaccine,” DeVore said after Thursday’s hearing.

Quincy Medical Group didn’t immediately return a message seeking comment.

The TRO is in effect until the case is determined. A preliminary injunction hearing is set for Oct. 6.

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