Court: OK to deny benefits to worker who objected to vaccine

The Kansas Court of Appeals says a hospital can deny unemployment benefits to a former employee who objected to receiving a flu vaccine.

The appeals panel affirmed a lower court ruling dismissing the case of Debra Rhodenbaugh, who had been an emergency department clerk at McPherson Hospital. In 2013, she objected to getting vaccinated after the hospital announced employees would be required to receive a flu vaccination.

She was later fired and applied for unemployment benefits, which the hospital fought, saying she wasn’t eligible.

The Topeka Capital-Journal reports ( the appeals panel said Rhodenbaugh had a duty to the hospital to either get the vaccination or meet the applicable exemptions. The ruling said Rhodenbaugh’s failure to comply amounted to job-related misconduct “and thus disqualified her for unemployment benefits.”

Information from: The Topeka (Kan.) Capital-Journal,