News & Events

Nurses Win Federal Court Decision on Virginia Mason’s Mandatory Flu Vaccination Policy

SEATTLE — The United States District Court ruled in favor of the Washington State Nurses Association (WSNA), representing more than 600 registered nurses at Virginia Mason Medical Center (VMMC), in upholding the arbitrator’s decision’s against VMMC which stopped the hospital from forcing RNs to receive flu shots.

The decision by the United States District Court denied VMMC’s motion challenging the arbitrator’s decision, which would have allowed the hospital to make flu shots a condition of employment and fire RNs who did not comply.

The court decision "did not find that the arbitrator’s decision is procedurally defective" thereby upholding the arbitrator’s award by denying the VMMC’s appeal.

WSNA absolutely supports the flu vaccination and in fact strongly encourages nurses to get them. However, it does oppose any healthcare facility threatening to fire people if they do not submit to the mandatory vaccination, especially in the absence of a declared public health emergency and a recommendation for mandatory vaccination by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“This decision confirms the arbitrator’s ruling and prevents VMMC from forcing RNs to get a flu vaccination against their will. It’s a basic right for people to make decisions regarding their own healthcare treatment. As healthcare professionals, nurses know that education, accessibility and incentives — not brute force — are the best way to encourage people to comply," said Barbara Frye, RN, director of labor relations at WSNA.

Source: Washington State Nurses Association