DOJ Sues Wisconsin County for Forcing Health Worker to Get Flu Shot

March 12, 2018 AT 8:45 AM

The federal government has sued Ozaukee County, claiming it violated the civil rights of a worker at a county-owned nursing home when her employers made her get a flu shot in violation of her religious beliefs to continue working there.

Lasata Care Center in Cedarburg required all employees to get an annual flu shot unless they could get a religious exemption. They required a “written statement from their clergy leader supporting the exemption with a clear reason and explanation.”  Exempted employees had to wear a mask during flu season.

Barnell Williams, a certified nursing assistant, worked at Lasata from December 2015 to June 2017.

In the fall of 2016, Williams learned all employees had to get a flu shot by late October. She told then-Administrator Ralph Luedtke she believed her body was "a Holy Temple" and the Bible prohibited the introduction of foreign substances like a vaccine in her body.