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HSUS Sued for Firing Remote Workers Over Vaccine Mandate

There’s been a lot of debate over whether certain practices, like masks and school closures, were effective measures to combat the spread of COVID. But most should be able to agree that an employer requiring employees who work remotely to get a vaccine isn’t going to make an office safer. After all, they’re remote.

On Aug. 4, HSUS was sued by two former employees, Jennifer Finn and Katherine Muldoon, who say they were fired for not getting a COVID vaccine despite both claiming a religious exemption and working remotely.

Read the lawsuit here.

Finn started working for HSUS over a decade ago as a conference organizer. She says she had been working remotely for several years before COVID started.

In late 2021, HSUS issued a notice that all employees would be required to get a COVID vaccine, but allowed for religious exemptions. Finn says she filed for an exemption and, after being “interrogated” about it by HSUS, was denied the exemption. She was then fired in January 2022.

Muldoon says she was hired by HSUS in December 2021 and began remote work in January 2022. She says she was not told about the vaccine mandate during the interview process and was only made aware in early January, just before she started employment. She was fired in early February 2022, just a few weeks after starting.

Finn and Muldoon allege HSUS emailed them to ask if they would be willing to wear masks and test weekly for COVID if their exemptions were approved. Both said yes. Both were fired anyway.

Further, the lawsuit claims that while the women would occasionally have to attend work events, these events were open to the unvaccinated already.

One particularly salient point raised by Finn is that HSUS kept employing her during the beginning of the pandemic in early 2020–only creating the vaccine mandate in late 2021. It would seem difficult for HSUS to claim that Finn could be a threat to coworkers when HSUS kept employing her for nearly two years after the pandemic started.

Plus, being vaccinated doesn’t stop someone from catching the virus or transmitting it–something that was apparent at the time the firings occurred.

“HSUS…imposed its view of morality, theology, ethics, and conscience,” the lawsuit states. As an animal liberation group that doesn’t think people should eat meat or wear a leather belt, that’s the same thing HSUS wants to do more broadly to people across society.

The previous regime at HSUS fell after CEO Wayne Pacelle was credibly accused of sexual harassment by numerous women. The new leadership may not be creeps, but they don’t seem to treat employees any better.