No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

On August 7 Mission Hospital, in Asheville NC, learned the truth of Oscar Wilde’s observation that no good deed goes unpunished. That’s the day a federal court denied the hospital’s motion for summary judgment in a case brought against it by the EEOC.

Hospital policy requires employees to have a flu shot by December 1, with an exception for employees who request an exemption based on religious grounds by September 1.

When three employees refused on religious grounds to have the flu shot but hadn’t requested exemption by September 1, the hospital fired them. The EEOC sued under Title VII, alleging that the hospital fired the three employees due to their religion.

What was the hospital’s good deed? It allows a “grace period” for employees who get the flu shot but miss the December 1 deadline.

The punishment? The EEOC cites the grace period as proof of religious discrimination because there’s no grace period for the exemption deadline. And in denying the hospital’s motion for summary judgment, the court ruled that a jury could buy the argument.


The case is EEOC v. Mission Hospital, No. 1:16-cv-00118-MOC-DLH (WD NC, opinion filed Aug. 7, 2017).

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