A lawsuit claiming the employee requirement for COVID-19 shots at Confluence Health to be unconstitutional is officially dead.

Douglas County Superior Court Judge Brian Huber shot down the lawsuit for a third time this week.

In April of last year, a total of 92 Confluence former and current employees filed a class action suit against their employer over wrongful termination for not taking the COVID-19 vaccine.

Huber initially tossed the case out in November, saying the plaintiffs’ failed to identify a clear public policy that supported their claim of wrongful discharge, or that Confluence neglected their religious exemptions.

Plaintiff Attorney Steve Lacy said at the time that they would likely appeal the case to a higher court after the dismissal, but instead asked the court to reconsider the employees claim of religious exemption.

Huber then rejected the lawsuit for a second time on March 1, saying it failed to identify which employees had requested a religious exemption, and failed to identify which religious beliefs they were claiming.

Huber issued a final dismissal of the case Monday, reiterating his reasoning from November and earlier this month.

Issues with Confluence Health’s handling of employee vaccinations emerged after the health care provider and hospital conformed with Gov. Jay Inslee’s executive order from August 2021 for all health care workers to be vaccinated for COVID-19.

The order required compliance by October 18.

Confluence then rejected more than 100 employee exemption requests. The lawsuit was brought by 92 current and former employees.

Huber's final dismissal on Monday also denied Confluence Health’s request for sanctions against the plaintiffs.

Confluence Health updated its employee vaccination policies at the beginning of March, allowing staff to work on hospital grounds if they have an approved medical and/or religious exemption.

Employees are otherwise still required to have all of their vaccinations, including the full COVID-19 series.

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