Judge denies latest attempt to halt Washington state worker vaccine mandate
Oct 18, 2021, 11:05 AM
A Thurston County Superior Court judge denied a request on Monday to halt Washington’s state employee vaccine mandate.
Plaintiffs in the lawsuit against the mandate were asking for an injunction to pause the mandate while the case played out in court.
It includes over 600 state employees as plaintiffs, including state troopers, ferry employees, firefighters, and more. They claim that Gov. Inslee’s vaccine mandate violates Washington’s state constitution, while also flouting religious freedoms for those who did not receive accommodations for exemptions.
The judge overseeing the case stated Monday that while many of the firsthand accounts from state employees attached to the lawsuit “are quite concerning,” they are also “not fully developed.”
“The record in this case shows that multiple individuals will have significant changes in their life potentially by these proclamations,” she described in an oral ruling. “The question though is whether there will be irreparable harm — it appears to the court that the harm is financial only.”
Based on that, she ruled that “plaintiffs have not met their burden to show that (the vaccine mandate) is unjust in all applications.”
In terms of whether Gov. Inslee exceeded his executive authority, she intimated that it “will likely be found to be a valid exercise of emergency powers,” and that plaintiffs will “not likely prevail on this facial challenge.”
This comes after a federal judge denied a request for an injunction in a similar lawsuit challenging the mandate last week, filed on behalf of 105 state and city employees.
The mandate for employees working for Washington state, King County, and Seattle took effect on Monday, Oct. 18.