A popular Brooklyn restaurant in New York fired a waitress after choosing not to get the COVID-19 vaccine amid worries that it might hurt her due to chances of getting pregnant.
A waitress refused to get the COVID-19 vaccine
Bonnie Jacobson, 34, said Red Hook Tavern management fired her on Monday as she declined to get the shot immediately. On Wednesday, the waitress told the NY Post, "It was shocking to me. I went through the stages: I'm hurt, I'm in shock - then I got mad."
Jacobson has been married since October 2019. She noted that she was not an anti-vaxxer and "fully supports" people being vaccinated. However, Jacobson wants to wait for further research on the COVID-19 vaccine's possible effect on fertility.
Having the vaccine is about me, the way I see it. This protects me. It's my decision if I don't get it, and I'm probably going to hurt myself,' Jacobson stated.
The available cOVID-1C vaccines have not been tested on pregnant women. They have also not been shown to affect pregnancy and are generally considered safe.
The US Disease Control and Prevention Centers (CDC) reports that being vaccinated is "a personal choice for pregnant women" and that expecting mothers should talk to their doctors about whether it's right for them. Earlier this month, restaurant workers in New York joined the list of individuals qualifying for the shot.
A restaurant mandates workers to be vaccinated
Not long after, management emailed employees at the buzzy Brooklyn eatery to let them know they were qualified and later said the vaccination would be "compulsory" for all workers.
The only exception to the policy would be if your wellbeing or condition prevents you from receiving this vaccine," The Post reviewed the Friday email. New York restaurant employees and taxi drivers are now eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine.
In August, Jacobson started working at the restaurant after being let go from women's co-working space 'The Wing' at the initial of the COVID-19 pandemic. The waitress decided not to choose being vaccinated because there are not enough details or research on its effects on fertility. "Once there is more research to support that it does not affect fertility I would reconsider my position," Jacobson wrote.
However, on Monday, Jacobson heard that she was being kicked over her decision after doing a 13-hour shift on Sunday for Valentine's Day. Tavern management wrote to her saying that although they respected her decision, it was essential to get the shot and that "the employment will be terminated at this time."
The email said, "We are sad to see you go." "If you change your mind, don't hesitate to let us know, please."The New York waitress noted that she had worked extremely hard through the pandemic with the restaurant and learned to adjust to coronavirus restrictions, such as working "in the freezing cold" outdoors.
Businesses could mandate workers to be vaccinated
While the US Equal Employment Opportunities Commission said in December that businesses could mandate employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19, employment lawyers said they hadn't heard of a case like Jacobson's before, as per WNBC, which first reported on her firing.
Employment attorney Felicia Ennis told the station, "This particular subject is a really hot topic right now." Ennis added that she has not heard of a company taking intense action.
On Wednesday, the restaurant said it was still asking employees to get COVID-19 vaccines but said it would change its policies for staff seeking an exception. Restaurant workers are among the first groups to receive the vaccine outside of the healthcare sector in New York, helping struggling businesses bring diners back.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunities Commission, which enforces regulations on inequality in the workplace, allows employers to require flu and other vaccinations. In December, the agency issued guidelines stating that businesses could require staff to be vaccinated but had to provide 'reasonable accommodation' to those with disabilities. The legality of requiring a woman who is already pregnant to get the vaccine may be uncertain due to some existing laws, as per Daily Mail.