LOS ANGELES - AltaMed Health Services Corp. is being sued by one of its former nurses, who alleges she was wrongfully fired in 2021 because the Catholic plaintiff objected to a job requirement that she be vaccinated against the coronavirus.
Janet Lopez also maintains she offered to be tested daily in order to keep her job. Her Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit alleges wrongful termination, religious creed discrimination, failure to prevent discrimination and retaliation.
Lopez seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages. An AltaMed representative did not immediately reply to a request for comment on the suit brought Thursday.
Lopez was hired as a licensed vocational nurse at AltaMed in September 2019 and was paid $50,000 annually, the suit states. Raised Catholic and a practitioner of that faith, she believes she is barred from taking any of the COVID-19 vaccines because they use cell lines derived from aborted children, the suit states.
Lopez was diagnosed with COVID-19 in April 2020, recovered and believes she now has natural immunity to the virus, the suit states.
Last August, AltaMed directed all employees to be vaccinated against the coronavirus and Lopez sought a religious exemption, but she was told by the company that none would be offered, the suit states. She was advised to be vaccinated by the next month or be fired, the suit states.
Lopez complained to management during that same time period that she saw children coming into the clinic with post-vaccination side effects that were cited by their parents, including chest pain, the suit states. However, Lopez alleges doctors were deliberately not reporting those side effects to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System, according to the suit.
Lopez emailed AltaMed management stating that in order to keep her job, she was willing to take COVID-19 tests every single day, if necessary, and would avoid going to work if she had coronavirus symptoms, the suit states. She also sent the company a copy of her antigen test, which showed she already had very high antibodies to the virus because she had the disease earlier, her suit states.
However, AltaMed fired Lopez on Sept. 30, the suit states.
It would not have been an undue hardship for AltaMed to keep Lopez as an employee, and the company made no effort to accommodate her religious beliefs, the suit states.
The firing of Lopez has left her with ongoing mental suffering and emotional distress as well as anxiety, high blood pressure, nausea, insomnia, shortness of breath, headaches and depression, the suit states.
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