A detention center officer in New Mexico filed a lawsuit over a workplace requirement to receive the coronavirus vaccine, the first lawsuit against mandatory COVID-19 vaccination in the U.S.
The detention center officer, Isaac Legaretta, sued a county manager and his supervisor on Sunday, Bloomberg Law reported. The officer’s attorney, Ana Garner, said he was told he would be fired for refusing inoculation.
The complaint claims the county manager and supervisor violated his rights by making the vaccine a condition of employment for first responders unless reasonable accommodation has been approved.
“You can’t be forced to be a human guinea pig when a product is experimental,” Garner, an attorney for the nonprofit New Mexico Stands Up!, told Bloomberg. “We have the right to bodily integrity.”
The county attorney has disputed the allegations and argued that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) said employers can mandate vaccinations.
The attorney also argues that Legaretta hasn’t claimed to have a qualifying condition preventing him from getting the vaccination.
The American Disabilities Act (ADA) and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 would allow for employee vaccination exemptions under certain health and religious reasons.
The EEOC in March 2020 said an employer covered by the ADA and Title VII can’t compel all of its employees to take a vaccine. Otherwise, employers are likely on firm legal ground to mandate vaccinations.