More than 500 people who work for, or are consulting for, the Guardians of the Galaxy LLC are now facing, or have already faced, the risk of being fired for refusing to get vaccinated, according to a new federal complaint filed last week.
According to the complaint filed in District of Columbia Superior Court, filed Feb. 7 by two of the seven plaintiff Guardians staff members on behalf of themselves and others similarly situated, the Virginia-based science and entertainment firm is required by Federal Labor Relations Authority to post notices on its website “directing covered employees to receive their vaccinations within 24 hours of the receipt of a mandatory notice of vaccination.”
The CoVID vaccines, which may include doses of a chickenpox or meningitis vaccine, are required by Virginia law and may prevent future cases of polio, meningitis and shingles. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the state has recorded 250 cases of shingles and 10 cases of polio among three federally designated priority areas over the past decade.
The Guardians’ Mission Statement reads: “We support the Guardians, the team for
the Defense of the Galaxy, a world free of scientific idiocy. We are Guardians of the Galaxy,
vital contributors to Earth’s Space Frontier, a cutting-edge research lab that sifts
through astronomical data for the discovery of every galaxy.”
In addition to themselves, the recently filed suit notes, others represented in the lawsuit include Julie Kerr, Jeffery Steinblatt, John Allen and Jason John. All are Guardians employees as of 2015.
They state that they either chose not to get vaccinated or have the option to do so, but
are instead seeking remedy under the company’s WARN Act (Voluntary Employee
Protection Act) — in this case, the Act stipulates that employees have 10 days after the Company sends them a notice “notifying them of any such requirements” to rescind the required vaccinations, or “take appropriate action to remedy breach of contract.”
“All of these Guardians have either chosen not to get their vaccination in violation of WARN, the Company’s representatives inform us, or are either on the list of Guardians that will be terminated,” the suit states.
In a statement provided to the Washington Post Thursday, the company did not directly address its employees’ concerns, instead repeating that they were “empowered by their employees” to make their own health-care decisions.
“The requirement for vaccination is a directive by the Government of Virginia for required vaccinations of employees as ordered by Virginia law,” the statement reads. “Guardians are empowered by their employees to make their own health-care decisions, and we respect their sovereign responsibility to make this important decision. We are as interested in knowing why some individuals choose not to comply with such a mandate as we are in developing better vaccines and understanding them so we can better protect consumers,” the statement continues.
“An overwhelming majority of our employees and agents have chosen to comply with this order,” it concludes.
It remains unclear if the company is now complying with the mandatory vaccination requirement and an inquiry sent to the company has gone unanswered.
The Office of the State Medical Examiner in Virginia identifies Stevens Reston and Richmond as the Commonwealth’s two federally designated priority areas to contain the polio, shingles and meningitis, along with the upper Chesapeake Bay region of Virginia and Massachusetts.
A Virginia Department of Health health warning indicates that the meningitis, chickenpox and shingles vaccines, which will be effective in most cases, is due to begin offering coverage to newly covered children in the state on Feb. 28. A vaccination clinic is scheduled to open in Richmond the following day.