General Hospital Lawsuit Over Vaccine Mandates Heads To Trial

By Christopher Isaac | Published

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  • A lawsuit against General Hospital gestating for two years is head to trial.
  • Former General Hospital crew members James and Timothy Wahl were fired in 2021 after they refused to get COVID-19 vaccinations, in spite of claiming religious exemptions.
  • The Wahls sued General Hospital, claiming religious discrimination.
  • The judge has decided there is enough proof that the Wahls have genuine religious issues with taking the vaccine that the suit can go to trial.

Although for most, the worst days of the pandemic are a distant memory, for ABC’s General Hospital, that dark period is coming back to the forefront. That is due to an issue involving network’s safety precautions during 2021 which entailed mandating that everyone involved with the company be vaccinated against COVID-19. When two crew members for General Hospital refused due to claims of having religious exemptions, the network terminated them from their roles.

The Lawsuit

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The crew members are a father and son, James and Timothy Wahl, who filed their lawsuit in 2022 after feeling they were fired unjustly and that they had been victims of religious discrimination. They stated that their beliefs are sincere and made them unable to take the COVID-19 vaccine without going against their faith. Earlier this week in Los Angeles, a judge felt that there was enough potential of legitimacy of these claims that a summary judgment was granted to the two former General Hospital crew members.

ABC’s Argument

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ABC is arguing that they were not in the wrong because the working conditions necessary for their TV programs would not have allowed for the Wahl father and son to continue in their jobs safely if they remained unvaccinated. However, the judge who heard the details of the lawsuit so far felt that there was potential that the General Hospital set could have made reasonable accommodations for the suing family prior to terminating their employment.

Are They Telling The Truth?

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However, what complicates matters is determining whether James and Timothy Wahl were genuine in their religious beliefs, or merely grasping at excuses to avoid taking the vaccine. During the height of the pandemic, there were a variety of reports of people claiming similar religious exemptions, when it truth their issues were more political. If the former General Hospital crew members are found to have been another case of such behavior, then ABC would not have done anything wrong in choosing to sever ties with them.

An Earlier Lawsuit

This is also not the first time General Hospital has dealt with this issue, as the program faced a similar situation when it came to the termination of actor Ingo Rademacher. Rademacher likewise refused to get vaccinated, was fired, and filed a lawsuit over the matter. ABC won that case after the court found that actors working in close proximity, without a mask, had no means of safely interacting during that period if they were unvaccinated.

However, the crew members in this new lawsuit argue that since they were not actors, their situation is different and they could have remained on set at a safe distance from others.

Going To Trial

The Wahls already dropped additional legal claims they were making against ABC for disability discrimination, retaliation and wrongful termination. However, in the case of their claims of religious discrimination, the judge has ordered that the case shall go before a jury to have a verdict rendered after hearing both sides. Neither ABC nor anyone from General Hospital have issued a comment on the matter as of yet.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter