Updated: Oklahoma Attorney General John O’Connor has learned through numerous contacts from employees and public news reports that Ascension has violated the Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) granted on November 12, 2021 by the Tulsa County District Court.
Monday, Attorney General O’Connor issued a cease and desist letter to Ascension demanding that Ascension: 1) immediately cease and desist its defiance of the Court’s TRO and allow the Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office time to investigate the allegations of religious discrimination currently pending with the Office of Civil Rights Enforcement; 2) immediately reinstate all suspended or terminated employees who filed for a religious exemption; and 3) immediately put these employees back to work by placing them on their normal work schedule.
Tuesday, AG O’Connor joined 11 other state attorneys general in a new lawsuit to stop the Biden administration’s “job or jab.”
“The TRO remains in effect until dissolved or modified by the appropriate court,” said O’Connor. “Under the TRO entered by the Court, Ascension is required to rescind all such suspensions, terminations, or other adverse actions that occurred prior to November 12, 2021 and must allow all Oklahoma employees an additional thirty (30) days to submit requests for religious accommodations.”
“It appears that Ascension is determined to trample on the sincerely held religious beliefs of the healthcare heroes it employs despite the Court’s clear mandate,” noted Attorney General O’Connor. “Ascension employees who are suspended in violation of the Court’s order simply want to be able to continue working with the same accommodations as those who have received medical exemptions.”
Although we hope that Ascension reverses its position, we are ready to take appropriate action in court to enforce the terms of the TRO so that all employees can report to work as the Court ordered.
Ascension employees are not required to file a discrimination complaint with the Oklahoma Attorney General to receive the protection of the Court TRO. However, any employee who has been denied a religious exemption may file an Employment Discrimination Complaint here.
The cease and desist letter can be accessed here.
Area Ascension “Sites of Care” follow:
- Ascension Medical Group St. John
- Ascension St. John Broken Arrow
- Ascension St. John Jane Phillips
- Ascension St. John Medical Center
- Ascension St. John Nowata
- Ascension St. John Owasso
- Ascension St. John Sapulpa
For more, click here for Oklahoma Attorney General John O’Connell at the Stand for Freedom rally on Capitol Day.
AG O’Connor sues Biden Admin to Block Healthcare Worker COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate
Attorney General John O’Connor and 11 other state attorneys general filed a new lawsuit asking a federal court to stop the Biden administration’s overreaching “job or jab” COVID-19 vaccine mandate for healthcare workers. The mandate threatens to further burden the healthcare sector and patient well-being in Oklahoma, where a large percentage of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities are already facing worker shortages.
The 12-state coalition filed the lawsuit and request for a preliminary injunction Monday in the U.S. District Court for Western District of Louisiana.
“I will not tolerate the Biden Administration threatening Oklahoma healthcare workers with their jobs after they have fearlessly braved the pandemic,” said General O’Connor. “Oklahoma is already suffering from staffing shortages, and this mandate will only worsen it, especially in rural Oklahoma.”
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) COVID-19 vaccine mandate on facilities that receive federal funding for treating patients exceeds the agency’s statutory authority and violates the Social Security Act’s prohibition on regulations that control the hiring and firing of healthcare workers. It also violates multiple federal laws, the Spending Clause, the Anti-Commandeering Doctrine, and the Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
More gravely, the Biden administration’s COVID-19 mandate threatens the well-being of people who rely on services provided by the federal healthcare program and the livelihoods of the those who provide that care.
“The Vaccine Mandate causes grave danger to vulnerable persons whom Medicare and Medicaid were designed to protect – the poor, sick, and elderly – by forcing the termination of millions of ‘healthcare heroes’ who are essential to providing healthcare services,” the lawsuit reads.
According to CMS, the COVID-19 vaccine mandate targets about a quarter of the nation’s healthcare workers who have not chosen to get vaccinated. The Biden administration’s core “objective is to coerce the unvaccinated workforce into submission or cause them to lose their livelihoods.” Without the injunction sought by General O’Connor, the result will be healthcare workers losing their jobs and America’s most vulnerable populations losing access to necessary medical care.
This will hit the healthcare system in rural Oklahoma particularly hard. Nearly 43 percent of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities in Oklahoma are suffering from staff shortages, according to the AARP’s Nursing Home COVID-19 Dashboard. More than 42 percent have chosen to remain unvaccinated, meaning the Biden mandate could make the healthcare workforce shortage much worse.
“The Vaccine Mandate threatens to exacerbate already devastating shortages in healthcare staffing by forcing small rural hospitals to terminate their unvaccinated workers,” the lawsuit states. “If the unvaccinated quit or are fired, that will compel those hospitals to close certain divisions, cancel certain services, or shutter altogether.”
The Biden administration’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate violates the Tenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution by seeking “to commandeer state-employee surveyors to become enforcers of CMS’s unlawful attempt to federalize national vaccine policy and override the States’ police power on matters of health and safety.” In addition to Attorney General O’Connor, attorneys general from Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, South Carolina, Utah, West Virginia are plaintiffs in the case.