An Exemption from Vaccination?


Write an introduction paragraph; a brief overview as to what happened, why it happened, and what issues are being presented. 

Be sure and be specific, giving court names, names, and titles of individuals, dates, etc., as necessary.  Please remember that this is a college paper. 
Your paper will require a cover sheet and a citations page. You need to review all of the necessary requirements as stated in the Syllabus!  There is no word limit on Legal Case Study reports.  


Were Potter’s beliefs “sincerely held religious beliefs” entitled to protection? Why or why not?
Is this an example of public law or private law? Why? Explain.
What is the jurisdiction of an ULJ in Minnesota? 
What was the holding by the SCOTUS in a classic landmark case concerning influenza in 1905? What was the legal issue in the case? Explain how the landmark case is relevant to Potter’s legal issue.  
Based on the facts in this case how would you decide Ms. Potter’s case? Why?   

Robyn Potter worked part-time as a registered nurse at a facility run by the Essentia Health integrated healthcare system (Essentia). Essentia revised its flu vaccination policy in August 2017 to “help protect Essentia Health staff, visitors, patients, and families from acquiring and transmitting seasonal influenza disease.” Under the revised policy, all employees, vendors, contractors, and volunteers had to receive the influenza vaccine “unless they qualified for a religious or medical exemption.” Employees who wanted an exemption had to complete a request form which was reviewed by a committee. The committee “reviewed the exemption requests based upon legal standards and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission guidelines.” There was also an appeal procedure for employees “whose exemption requests were denied.” The requests of some employees were granted. Employees who did not either get the vaccine or an exemption were fired. In November 2017, Potter filed an exemption request form which “indicated that she is Catholic and that the ‘Bible, both the Old and New Testaments reference keeping [the] body blemish-free so [one] might have abundant life.’” She also said the policy discriminates against her “own personal beliefs.” Her request was denied because the request “[did] not appear to be based upon any religious reasons.” Her appeal was also denied. She was given a deadline for getting a vaccination. Potter was terminated in December 2017 when she did not obtain one. She then filed for unemployment benefits. The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) denied her benefits because they determined she was fired for employment misconduct. States do not provide unemployment benefits to employees who are fired for good cause. Potter appealed DEED’s determination. An unemployment-law judge (the ULJ) held a hearing. Testimony indicated that Potter had received flu shots while she was in the military and she recently had other vaccinations. She said that some vaccines save lives but that she did not believe the flu vaccine could save lives. “Potter testified that her belief that the influenza vaccine is not effective is ‘a personal belief based on numbers from the government.’” She could not quote any Bible passages or other church documents that indicated people should not be vaccinated. The ULJ decided “Potter was driven by a personal, secular belief.” “Potter is unwilling to inject what she considers scientifically ineffective impurities but is willing to inject what she considers scientifically effective impurities.” “The ULJ determined that Potter’s refusal to be vaccinated displayed a serious violation of the standard of behavior that Essentia had a right to reasonably expect.”

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