NYC waitress says she was fired for not getting COVID vaccine


A New York City waitress says she was fired from a preferred Brooklyn restaurant after selecting not to get the COVID-19 vaccine for concern it’d damage her probabilities of getting pregnant.

Bonnie Jacobson, 34, instructed The Post that the administration at Red Hook Tavern canned her on Monday as a result of she balked at getting the shot instantly.

“It was shocking to me,” she mentioned Wednesday. “I went through the stages: I’m hurt, I’m in shock — then I got mad.”

Jacobson, who has been married since October 2019, burdened that she’s not an anti-vaxxer and “fully supports” individuals being inoculated, however mentioned she needs to attend for extra analysis on the coronavirus vaccine’s attainable results on fertility.

“The way I see it, getting the vaccine is for me. It protects me. If I am not getting it, it’s my choice, and I’d only be hurting myself,” she mentioned.

The coronavirus vaccines obtainable haven’t been examined on pregnant ladies, but additionally haven’t been proven to have an effect on being pregnant and are considered as usually protected.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that getting vaccinated is “a personal choice for people who are pregnant” and that anticipating moms can converse to their medical doctors about whether or not it’s proper for them.

Restaurant staffers in New York joined the checklist of individuals eligible for the shot earlier this month.

Not lengthy after, administration on the buzzy Brooklyn eatery emailed staffers to allow them to know they have been eligible, and later mentioned the vaccine can be “mandatory” for all workers.

The solely exception to the coverage can be, “If your own personal health or disability prohibits you from obtaining this vaccination,” learn the Friday electronic mail, reviewed by The Post.

Jacobson — who started working on the restaurant in August after being let go from ladies’s co-working house The Wing at first of the pandemic — responded that she was “choosing not to get the vaccine because there just isn’t enough data or research at this point on its effects on fertility.”

“Once there is more research to support that it does not affect fertility I would reconsider my position,” she wrote.

But on Monday, after having labored a 13-hour shift on Sunday for Valentine’s Day, Jacobson discovered she was getting booted over her selection.

Tavern administration wrote to her saying that whereas they revered her selection, getting the shot was required and that “at this time your employment will be terminated.”

“We are sad to see you go,” the e-mail mentioned. “If you do change your mind, please do not hesitate to let us know.”

Jacobson mentioned she felt blindsided.

She famous that she’d toiled for the restaurant by means of the pandemic and discovered to adapt to coronavirus restrictions, reminiscent of working outdoors “in the freezing cold.”

“I’ve been trooping along with them,” she mentioned. “I was expecting to be met by the same flexibility and compassion.”

Bonnie Jacobson was fired from Red Hook Tavern for not getting vaccinated for COVID-19.
Bonnie Jacobson was fired from Red Hook Tavern for not getting vaccinated for COVID-19.
William C. Lopez/NYPOST

While, the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in December said corporations may require employees to get vaccinated towards COVID-19, employment legal professionals mentioned they hadn’t heard of a case like Jacobson’s earlier than, according to WNBC, which first reported on her firing.

“This particular subject is a really hot topic right now,” employment lawyer Felicia Ennis instructed the station, including, “I haven’t heard of a company taking that extreme of a step.”

The restaurant on Wednesday mentioned it was nonetheless requiring employees to get vaccinated towards COVID-19, however mentioned it could change its coverage for workers requesting an exemption.

“Once New York state allowed restaurant workers to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, we thought this was the perfect opportunity to put a plan in place to keep our team and guests safe,” proprietor Billy Durney mentioned in an announcement.

“No one has faced these challenges before and we made a decision that we thought would best protect everyone,” he mentioned. “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. We’re making these changes immediately.”

Jacobson instructed The Post she doesn’t plan on pursuing authorized motion and doesn’t need her job again.

“Its a good restaurant, the food is excellent, the money is great [but] I think I want to take a minute for myself,” she mentioned.

She and her husband, who have been married in October 2019 and have been collectively for 9 years, are “family planning” and she needs to concentrate on that, Jacobson mentioned.

Jacobson expressed some hesitation about her selection not to get vaccinated instantly, and mentioned that she would get the shot sooner or later, “once more data is out there.”

“The way I see it, maybe I need to be better informed,” she mentioned.