More than 100 former Geisinger employees have appealed the dismissal of a lawsuit filed last year after they were terminated following the health system’s implementation of a COVID-19 vaccine and testing policy.
The lawsuit was dismissed by federal Judge Matthew Brann in August out of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District. The former employees are now appealing to the Third Circuit court, according to court documents filed last week.
The former employees identify nine issues to be raised on appeal, including that the lower court did not properly review the evidence regarding religious exemptions, that the district court “erroneously determined approved vaccines were available when they were not,” and that the court ignored the “properly-plead ... cause for action for employment discrimination.”
The dismissed class-action was filed in November by 106 Geisinger employees against the health system’s mandated twice-weekly tests for COVID-19 if they did not get a vaccine.
The suit was filed by employees who received religious exemptions to the health system’s vaccine mandate and claimed they were threatened with termination if they were to reject three PCR or antigen tests. Brann also denied the plaintiff’s motion for an extension of time and directed the clerk of court to “close the case file.”
The former employees, from 14 Geisinger affiliates, were seeking judgment for lost wages and benefits, loss of future pay, compensatory and punitive damages and attorney’s fees.
When dismissing the case in August, Brann wrote that plaintiff’s arguments came down to the “Same premise: COVID-19 vaccines and tests are unsafe and ineffective ... The evidence consists of nothing more than a collection of distorted statements and anti-vaccine hocus-pocus.”
Litigation had been ongoing for months before Brann granted Geisinger’s motion to dismiss.