Former Asante employees suing for discrimination over vaccine mandate

MEDFORD, Ore.– A group of over 30 former Asante employees are suing the health system over the way it handled the state’s vaccine mandate.

The group of nearly 40 former staff members is accusing Asante of employment discrimination.

The group says they were fired after being put on administrative leave by Asante, after they requested religious exemptions from the vaccine mandate.

The lawsuit includes former staff members from a variety of religious backgrounds who believe they were fired solely for not receiving the vaccine.

The suit says many of the employees had worked at Asante for more than 15 years.

Attorney Ray Hacke, who represents the group said, “Asante either put them on unpaid leave first, which in our position, is not an accommodation, that’s a de facto suspension and then fired them in April of last year or, it didn’t bother putting them on unpaid leave it just fired them straight away.”

Hacke said they plan to argue that Asante could have made reasonable accommodations without having to fire anyone.

He said many of the people he’s representing have started working at Providence, which was able to make those accommodations.

A spokeswoman from Asante sent a statement that said “while Asante does not comment regarding pending litigation, Asante has strictly complied with federal and state law in its response to vaccine mandate exception requests made by its employees, whether based on religious or medical grounds.”

Asante has yet to respond to the lawsuit in court.

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Former NBC5 News reporter Derek Strom is from Renton, Washington. He recently graduated from the Edward R. Murrow College of Communications at Washington State University with a degree in Broadcast News and a minor in Sports Management. He played in the drumline with the WSU marching band. These days, he plays the guitar and piano. Derek is a devoted fan of the Mariners, Seahawks, and Kraken.
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