Client wins unemployment after refusing mandatory Covid-19 vaccine requirement due to religion

In the start of 2023, Justin Murphy secured a favorable decision for a client who was terminated from a Boston based hospital due to the mandatory Covid-19 vaccine requirement, which the client refused for religious reasons. The Department of Unemployment Assistance (“DUA”) initially denied the claim, stating that the employee's refusal was a willful violation of company policy under the MA unemployment statute.

Mr. Murphy represented the employee at the unemployment hearing. During the hearing, the hospital contended that the employee intentionally refused the vaccine and should be disqualified. Mr. Murphy argued the refusal was not willful or intentional, but rather the employee requested a religious exemption, which the hospital denied. Consequently, the DUA rejected the hospital’s argument that the employee’s actions were willful or deliberate misconduct.

The hospital erroneously believed it was immune from all unemployment claims related to an employee's refusal to get the Covid-19 vaccine, but in Massachusetts, the unemployment statute provides benefits to individuals who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own in certain circumstances, such as in this case.

Pro Bono Honoree

Justin Murphy was recently awarded a certificate of recognition by the Supreme Judicial Court Standing Committee on Pro Bono Legal Services in Massachusetts, in honor of his distinguished service in providing volunteer legal services to those most in need during the year 2021.

Best Employment Lawyers in Boston

Justin Murphy is pleased to be selected by as one of the 2022 “Best Employment Lawyers” in Boston.

Selection criteria consisted of 25 variables across five categories: availability, qualifications, reputation, experience and professionalism.

Boston Magazine recognizes Justin M. Murphy in its inaugural “Top Lawyers” list

Justin Murphy is pleased to be included in Boston Magazine‘s first-ever “Top Lawyers” list, which recognizes the top law professionals in the Greater Boston area.

Boston Magazine’s editorial team researched and selected lawyers based on peer nominations and externally available credentials.