A waitress at a New York City restaurant said she was fired from her job over her hesitation to get the COVID-19 vaccine, NBC New York reported.
Bonnie Jacobson, 34, of Brooklyn, said she was let go from her waitress job at Red Hook Tavern on Monday, days after she voiced concerns to a manager about how the vaccine could impact fertility, NBC New York reported.
Jacobson and her husband had been planning to have a child, but after she lost her job in April due to the pandemic they put those plans on hold, according to the local station. (RELATED: Vatican Reportedly Says Employees Could Be Fired If They Don’t Get COVID-19 Vaccine)
The waitress stressed that she was not an anti-vaxxer, but since she and her husband had been planning to have a child for a year, she did not want the vaccine to delay these plans further, the outlet said.
The firing appears to be completely legal, as companies can fire employees for not getting the vaccine https://t.co/jiPn9mbTSy
— NBC New York (@NBCNewYork) February 17, 2021
There is limited information available about the risks associated with pregnant women taking the vaccine, according to the CDC. However, since mRNA vaccines do not contain the live virus that causes COVID-19, there is no risk of contracting the illness from getting the vaccine, the CDC says.
Jacobson said her manager initially understood her concerns about the vaccine and claimed it was not required, according to NBC New York. But on Feb. 12, the restaurant changed its policy and employees received an email that said the vaccine would be mandatory. She said the email also alerted her that due to her refusal to get to the vaccine her employment was terminated.
“It was really impersonal. I was honestly shocked,” she told NBC News. “My gut reaction was to just say, ‘OK. Fine, I’ll get it. I need my job.’ But that just didn’t sit right with me. I was like, ‘Actually, I don’t think that’s right. I don’t think that’s the choice I need to be making here.'”
The state of New York announced on Feb. 2 restaurant employees are now eligible to receive the vaccine.
Red Hook Tavern’s owner Billy Durney told NBC News in an emailed statement that while the restaurant was attempting to keep their staff and guests as safe as possible by requiring the vaccine, the situation could have been handled differently.
“And, we now realize that we need to update our policy so it’s clear to our team how the process works and what we can do to support them,” he said in the statement. “We’re making these changes immediately.”
Jacobson said that while she does not want her job back, she hopes her story will encourage other businesses to handle any concerns surrounding vaccine requirements in a better manner.