Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) was sued last week by dozens of state employees, including state troopers and firefighters, over his vaccine mandate.
The state employees accused Inslee of violating state law, and the lawsuit, filed on Friday in Walla Walla County Superior Court by Seattle attorney Nathan Arnold, showed seven causes of action against the governor. It specifically notes the state’s religious exemptions, which are alleged to constitute a deprivation of religious freedom, violating the state constitution.
The Seattle Times reports that the lawsuit has over 90 individual plaintiffs, which include ”53 State Patrol employees, a dozen Department of Corrections workers, plus firefighters, healthcare and ferry system workers.”
Inslee last month ordered all state employees and contractors to get fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Oct. 18 or potentially lose their jobs. The Times notes that employees can seek medical or religious exemptions, but they could still lose their jobs or be reassigned even if the exemptions are approved.
The lawsuit also cites emails suggesting that the governor’s office made the religious exemption to be ”as narrow as possible.”
Mike Faulk, a spokesman for the governor, said in an email that the requirements ”are in full compliance with the law. We look forward to responding in court.”
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