Wherever Islamic law and practice and American law and practice conflict, it is American law and practice that have to give way — even if the public health is thereby endangered. “Boston Children’s Hospital: Until Every Child Is Well” — except those exposed to the flu.
A former Children’s Hospital Boston employee who said she was fired because her Islamic beliefs prohibited her from getting a mandatory flu shot sued the hospital today.
Leontine Robinson says in her complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Boston that her civil rights were violated because the hospital “intentionally discriminated against (her) due to her religious beliefs.” Some Muslims refuse flu shots because they contain a small amount of pork gelatine — a violation, the abstainers contend, of restrictions on consuming pork products.
Robinson, according to her complaint, worked in patient care at Children’s for about a year before a flu shot requirement was instituted in 2006. Hospital managers had known she was a Muslim when they hired her, the suit suggests, noting that she wore a traditional Muslim head-covering for women.
She was allowed to skip the shots initially. But in 2011, the suit states, Childrens’ policy became more strict and getting a job was classified by the hospital as a “term of employment.” Robinson was fired for refusing to get one, the suit states.
Robinson wants back pay and other compensation. She says in her complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Boston that the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission dismissed a similar complaint she had filed with the agency against Children’s.
Children’s did not immediately return a telephone call seeking comment.