Health care workers who challenged the COVID-19 vaccine mandate in Maine are identified

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Published: Jul. 12, 2022 at 11:17 AM EDT
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BANGOR, Maine (WMTW) - Lawyers for a group of Maine health care workers suing Gov. Janet Mills over the COVID-19 vaccine mandate have filed an amended complaint identifying the workers.

The lawsuit also names Maine Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Jeanne Lambrew and Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Nirav Shah as defendants.

The original complaint, filed in August 2021, simply identified the workers as Jane and John Does. They claimed the mandate violated their religious beliefs.

The filing read, in part “If Plaintiffs do not comply with the vaccine mandate, they will be terminated and deprived of their ability to feed their families. No American should be faced with this unconscionable choice, especially the health care heroes who have served us admirably for the entire duration of COVID-19.”

Last week, a judge ordered that the group release their identities or else the lawsuit would not move forward.

The amended lawsuit, filed on Monday, identifies the workers as: Jennifer Barbalias, Natalie Salavarria and Adam Jones who used to work for Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center; Debra Chalmers and Garth Berenyi, who worked for Genesis Healthcare; Alicia Lowe, who worked for MaineHealth; and Nicole Giroux, who worked for MaineGeneral Healthcare. All were fired from their jobs when they refused to be vaccinated by the state deadline.

Liberty Counsel filed the amended complaint. Founder and Chairman Mat Staver said, “Maine is required to abide by federal law and provide protections to employees who have sincerely held religious objections to the COVID shots and these health care workers are no exception. No American should be faced with this unconscionable choice, especially the health care heroes who have served admirably for the entire duration of COVID- 19. These health care workers have already suffered irreparable harm by being forced to choose between their jobs and their sincerely held religious beliefs.”

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