Court denies Massachusetts hospital workers' vaccine appeal

The Supreme Court has turned away an emergency appeal from employees at the largest hospital system in Massachusetts who object to the COVID-19 vaccine on religious grounds

WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court has turned away an emergency appeal from employees at the largest hospital system in Massachusetts who object to the COVID-19 vaccine on religious grounds.

Justice Stephen Breyer did not comment Monday in rejecting the request from employees at Mass General Brigham for a religious exemption to the system's vaccine requirement. Lawyers for the employees said in court papers that six have been fired, one has resigned and another was vaccinated in order to remain employed.

Mass General Brigham, which with 80,000 workers is the state’s largest private employer, told employees they would terminated if they did not receive their first shot by Nov. 5.

The employees who sued contend the requirement violates federal workplace discrimination laws.

Breyer, who handles emergency appeals from Massachusetts, acted on his own and without even asking Mass General Brigham for a response. Lower courts also had denied the request.

Last month, the justices turned away a similar appeal from Maine, over three dissenting votes.