Company fires about 50 workers for refusing to get flu shot

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Fired for not getting a flu shot - dozens of employees at a Minnesota-based health care provider are considering legal action after it happened to them.

Essentia says it is mandating the shot to minimize the risk of patients contracting the flu while under their care. The company said in a statement that 99 percent of its 13,900 employees either received the vaccine, have been exempted or are in the process of filing for exemption.

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"When you're in the hospital you don't want to catch any other types of infections", said Prabhu.

The Minnesota Nurses Association filed grievances in an effort to get fired Essentia nurses their jobs back, along with missed pay.

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KBJR reports that Essentia Health told employees in September they had three options: get the flu shot, get an approved religious or medical exemption, or leave the company. They claim the organization did not negotiate with union members before establishing the policy, according to KBJR. He cited CDC research showing this year's vaccine is expected to be 60 percent effective against the flu.

But the new policy has some workers speaking out against the move. "We tried to sit down with management, but Essentia executives told us they intend to follow through with terminations and mandatory flu shots regardless". According to court documents, Essentia is moving to dismiss the USW claims and the two will meet in a hearing on January 31.

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Two unions, AFSCME and MNA, have filed unfair labor practice claims against Essentia on behalf of their employees.

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