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Workers at Mass General Brigham denied COVID-19 vaccine exemptions sue hospital

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Workers at Mass General Brigham denied COVID-19 vaccine exemptions sue hospital

Several employees at the largest hospital system in Massachusetts say in a lawsuit that they were subjected to discrimination and retaliation in violation of federal law when their requests for medical or religious exemptions from the organization’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate were denied.

The federal suit was filed Sunday by eight workers at Mass General Brigham.

Attorneys for the workers said in a memo attached to the lawsuit that they are not challenging the legality of the vaccine mandate, but are attempting to “prevent discrimination and retaliation based on religion or disability.”

“Defendant’s offering of medical and religious exemptions was illusory and not based in accordance with federal law,” the suit says.

Mass General Brigham “wrongfully denied all of the plaintiffs’ accommodation requests by creating a system that hindered its employees’ ability to communicate their beliefs and disabilities, restricted their access to those reviewing requests for accommodations and by total failure to engage in an interactive process,” the memo said.

Mass General Brigham announced in June that all of its 80,000 employees would have to prove they have received at least one shot by Wednesday or be placed on unpaid leave. Employees who have not received at least their first shot by Nov. 5 will lose their jobs.

More than 98% of the system’s workers are vaccinated, Mass General Brigham said in a statement Tuesday.

“Mass General Brigham has communicated regularly with employees since we announced the mandate and had a process for employees to request an exemption for medical or religious reasons,” the statement said. “We received a number of exemption requests, and each request was carefully considered by a knowledgeable team of reviewers.”

The lawsuit seeks an injunction to stop the hospital system from placing workers on unpaid leave or firing them.

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Avalanche was 7-1 in Nathan MacKinnon’s absence. “Excited to try and help keep this thing rolling,” he said pregame from Toronto.

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Avalanche was 7-1 in Nathan MacKinnon’s absence. “Excited to try and help keep this thing rolling,” he said pregame from Toronto.

TORONTO — After the morning skate at Scotiabank Arena on Wednesday, Avalanche coach Jared Bednar confirmed top-line center Nathan MacKinnon will return to the lineup against the Toronto Maple Leafs tonight to begin a five-game trip.

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Sheriff: Boy’s parents called to Oxford High before violence

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Oxford High School shooting: Fourth student dies

By COREY WILLIAMS and ED WHITE

OXFORD TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — A 15-year-old boy was charged Wednesday with murder, terrorism and other crimes for a shooting that killed four fellow students and injured others at a Michigan high school.

Oakland County prosecutor Karen McDonald did not reveal a possible motive for Tuesday’s violence at Oxford High School and declined to comment when pressed about whether she believed the victims were specifically targeted. But she said the shooting was premediated, based in part on a “mountain of digital evidence” collected by police.

Sheriff Mike Bouchard later told reporters that the boy’s parents had been summoned to the school before the violence. Bouchard wouldn’t discuss details of the behavior school officials were concerned about.

“There is nothing that he could have faced that would warrant senseless, absolutely brutal violence on other kids,” he said.

Ethan Crumbley is accused of firing a semi-automatic handgun in a school hallway, roughly 30 miles (50 kilometers) north of Detroit. At least seven other people were injured.

Crumbley was charged as an adult with murder, attempted murder and terrorism causing death. It wasn’t immediately known if he had an attorney who could comment.

“This was not just an impulsive act,” McDonald said.

The shooting should be a wakeup call for new gun laws in a country that has become “desensitized to school shootings,” McDonald told reporters.

“We have to do better,” McDonald said without offering specific changes. “How many times does this have to happen? How many times?”

The charges were announced a few hours after investigators reported that a fourth student had died.

“What about all the children who ran, screaming, hiding under desks? … Those are victims, too, and so are their families and so is the community. The charge of terrorism reflects that,” the prosecutor said.

Deputies rushed to the school around lunchtime Tuesday and arrested Crumbley in a hallway within minutes of the shooting. His father bought the 9 mm Sig Sauer gun last week, according to the Oakland County sheriff.

McDonald strongly suggested that more charges will be filed.

“We are considering charges against both parents and we will be making a decision swiftly,” she said.

“Owning a gun means securing it properly and locking it and keeping the ammunition separate,” she said.

The four students who were killed were identified as 16-year-old Tate Myre, 14-year-old Hana St. Juliana, 17-year-old Madisyn Baldwin and 17-year-old Justin Shilling.

After the attack, authorities learned of social media posts about threats of a shooting at the roughly 1,700-student school. The sheriff stressed how crucial it is for such tips to be sent to authorities, while also cautioning against spreading social media rumors before a full investigation.

Undersheriff Mike McCabe downplayed the significance of a situation in early November when a deer’s head was thrown off the school roof, which he said was “absolutely unrelated” to the shooting. The incident prompted school administrators to post two letters to parents on the school’s website, saying they were responding to rumors of a threat against the school but had found none.

Isabel Flores, a 15-year-old ninth grader, told Detroit television station WJBK that she and other students heard gunshots and saw another student bleeding from the face. They then ran from the area through the rear of the school, she said.

A concerned parent, Robin Redding, said her son, 12th-grader Treshan Bryant, stayed home Tuesday after hearing threats of a possible shooting.

“This couldn’t be just random,” she said.

Bryant said he had heard vague threats “for a long time now” about plans for a shooting.

At a vigil Tuesday night at LakePoint Community Church, Leeann Dersa choked back tears as she hugged friends and neighbors. Dersa has lived nearly all of her 73 years in Oxford. Her grandchildren attended the high school.

“Scared us all something terrible. It’s awful,” Dersa said of the shooting.

Pastor Jesse Holt said news of the shooting flooded in to him and his wife, including texts from some of the 20 to 25 students who are among the 400-member congregation.

“Some were very scared, hiding under their desks and texting us, ‘We’re safe, we’re OK. We heard gunshots, but we’re OK.’ They were trying to calm us, at least that’s how it felt,” he said.

___

Associated Press journalists Ryan Kryska, Mike Householder and David Aguilar in Oxford Township, Michigan; Kathleen Foody in Chicago; and Josh Boak in Rosemount, Minnesota, contributed to this report. AP researcher Rhonda Shafner in New York also contributed.

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Nuggets’ Michael Porter Jr. undergoes back surgery, team says

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Nuggets’ Michael Porter Jr. was playing with back pain this whole season, says Austin Rivers

Nuggets forward Michael Porter Jr. underwent lumbar spine surgery, the team announced Wednesday afternoon.

He is out indefinitely, the release said. The surgery was performed by Dr. Andrew Dossett at the Carrell Clinic.

Porter, 23, has had three back surgeries, including two since the Nuggets drafted him in 2018. Porter had been playing hurt all season before tweaking his back against Houston on Nov. 6. He was dealing with a nerve issue in his back, as The Denver Post first reported.

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