Wisconsin nursing home sued over flu vaccine requirement

Flu Vaccine, Photo Date: 10/22/10 / Photo credit: Photo: Daniel Paquet / CC BY 2.0 / MGN
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MILWAUKEE (AP) -- The U.S. Justice Department is suing a Wisconsin nursing home because a former employee says she was forced to take a flu vaccine despite her religious beliefs.

The lawsuit filed Tuesday alleges Barnell Williams "suffered severe emotional distress" because Lasata Care Center in Ozaukee County required her to be vaccinated or lose her job in October 2016. The lawsuit claims Williams feared she would be "going to Hell" because her interpretation of the Bible forbade her from putting certain substances in her body.

Messages to the county and nursing home administrator were not immediately returned.

Several states require hospital staff to be immunized and health care facilities also have their own policies, including allowing for religious exemptions. Lasata has such an exemption but requires a letter from a clergy leader. Williams couldn't provide one.

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