2 former Mayo Clinic employees file lawsuits claiming wrongful termination

(ABC 6 News) – Two former Mayo Clinic employees are suing the health system, saying they were wrongfully fired after failing to follow Mayo Clinic’s vaccine mandate.

Around 700 Mayo Clinic employees were terminated after refusing to comply with the health care provider’s vaccine mandate for employees.

Shelly Kiel, of Owatonna, and Sherry Ihde are just two to file. Both are citing religious discrimination.

"I can assure you that an even greater number would like to sue," said attorney Gregory Erickson, "they’re coming to us because they feel they’ve been discriminated against. They have seen the people who obtained religious exemptions and they frankly don’t understand the difference between them and the ones who received exemptions."

Their lawyer, Gregory Erickson, said the cases could take up to a year or more to come to trial.

Mayo Clinic responded in a statement:
Mayo Clinic stands firmly behind the evidence supporting the efficacy and safety of COVID-19 vaccines to help protect the health and safety of our patients, workforce, visitors and communities. The Mayo Clinic COVID-19 vaccination program remains in effect.

Mayo Clinic will defend its vaccine program implementation and disputes many of the factual allegations in the lawsuit.

Mayo Clinic recognizes that some employees have deeply held religious beliefs that led them to seek exemption from COVID-19 vaccination. In compliance with established laws, Mayo offered its employees the option to request a religious accommodation. The majority of religious exemption requests were granted.

Mayo Clinic implemented a required COVID-19 vaccination program for all staff to advance the primary value of Mayo Clinic – the needs of the patient come first. Based on science and data, COVID-19 vaccinations prevent hospitalizations and save lives among those who become infected with COVID-19. That’s true for everyone in our communities – and it’s especially true for the many patients with serious or complex diseases who seek care at Mayo Clinic each day.

Mayo Clinic will not comment further on pending litigation.