Dori: Ukrainian-American paralegal fired over vaccine mandate says Ferguson ‘discarded us like garbage’

Apr 7, 2022, 10:29 AM
Bob Ferguson...
Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
(AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

After working most of the last eight years in the Washington State Attorney General’s office, Ukrainian-American Natalia Corduneanu is being fired by AG Bob Ferguson for her refusal to follow his COVID vaccine mandate.

In mid-March, Ferguson told all office staff to return from telework to the office – vaccinated – or lose their job. A Christian Orthodox Church believer, Corduneanu told The Dori Monson Show that her faith prevents vaccinations.

The timing is especially bad, Corduneanu told Dori, because she’s afraid she won’t be able continue sending part of her paralegal paycheck to her family in Ukraine. Russian missiles have shelled her hometown’s airport, broadcast center, and air force command complex in Vinnytsia over the past 40 days. Meanwhile, Conduneanu’s parents have joined the resistance movement to defend their country.

“It’s a hard topic for me,” she said. “A few of my family, including my father, are fighting right now. I help them financially as much as I can.”

“Everything happened so quickly and without any recourse for employees like me,” she added.

Her union representative told her that 15 others seeking religious exemptions from Ferguson’s office were also denied, her supervisor among them.

Ferguson not only denied Corduneanu’s request to continue working from home in her attempt to avoid the vaccine, but he also denied her request for a three-month extension so that she could continue supporting her family a few more weeks, she told Dori’s listeners.

In her church, Corduneanu explained, “first and foremost we believe in bodily purity – not just vaccines but other chemicals. For example, we don’t have tattoos.”

Dori, who first learned of her plight from the Washington Policy Center, asked her if Ferguson contacted her and others directly after denying their religious exemption requests.

“No,” Corduneanu said. “I don’t think Bob Ferguson has any courage to speak honestly … This is his decision but he has no courage to address that directly. He only gives instructions to his deputy attorney general and lets them do the dirty work for him.”

“Bob Ferguson doesn’t really value his employees, doesn’t value people of faith specifically, because he discarded us like garbage,” she continued. “Bob Ferguson’s actions speak louder than his words when he tells that his job is to protect every Washingtonian, when he doesn’t even care about his own employees.”

Meanwhile, Corduneanu remains hopeful she will find another job.

“I will find other ways,” she told Dori’s listeners. “My faith is very important to me, and I am sure God has another path for me. I firmly believe in that … God has a bigger plan for all of this to happen.”

Listen to Dori’s full interview with Corduneau: 

Listen to Dori Monson weekday afternoons from noon – 3 p.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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Dori: Ukrainian-American paralegal fired over vaccine mandate says Ferguson ‘discarded us like garbage’