Forced flu shot policy leads to lawsuit

A mandatory flu-shot policy imposed by Anderson, S.C. based-hospital AnMed Health led at least one employee to file a class-action lawsuit against the facility, citing a violation of privacy, reports the Anderson Independent Mail. At least two other people may join food service worker Bertha Hunter on the suit, according to the newspaper. 

Hunter claims she has never received a flu shot in her life, and says she was never informed of an option to wear a surgical mask while on duty as an alternative to getting the shot. 

"This is me. I am standing up for me," Hunter told "I am not taking it because they want me to take it. I know the health reasons and all, but, it's plenty people out there who don't take the flu shot, won't take the flu shot and have the right not to." 

The memo instructing employees to get the vaccination, sent out on Sept. 15 by AnMed CEO John Miller, cites "patient, employee and community safety" as the main reasons for making the policy mandatory. "Each year thousands of Americans die as a result of the flu and flu-related illnesses," the memo reads. "We must do our part to reduce the risk of infection and in turn, help save the lives of those we care for and those we care about. Everyone's understanding is appreciated." 

In a written statement, AnMed spokeswoman Heidi Charalambous said hospital officials were "disappointed that the flu policy's intent ... [was] not shared by" everyone. 

To learn more:
- read this Anderson Independent Mail article
- here's a file containing the lawsuit and the hospital memo to employees
- check out this story
- read this Associated Press brief