Letter to the Editor: Library Employee Feels Unfairly Treated Over Vaccine Mandate


I would like to express my protest against the way I have been treated by my employer, Timberland Regional Library (TRL). After almost 12 years of working as a library assistant at the Hoquiam Timberland Library, I was terminated on May 2 because I am unable to receive one of the three Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-approved mRNA COVID-19 vaccines.

My doctor states that in my case, mRNA vaccines can cause serious injury or even death. He filled out the TRL request form for medical exemption, which I submitted. The only response I have received from TRL is a refusal to consider my request because of timing. I have since heard via my union representative that TRL relented and did, in fact, look at my request but decided not to accept my doctor’s recommendation.

And this happened without my right to an accommodation even being offered. An accommodation process is supposed to be interactive, including a negotiation between employer and employee. No one ever reached out to me or my doctor to talk about a possible accommodation. Yet, TRL generously granted accommodation to staff who felt unsafe going back to work after the lockdown in 2020. These individuals were allowed to telework for many months after the libraries were reopened, despite being vaccinated. Why was this possibility not offered to me? I feel very unsafe receiving one of the three approved vaccines. In fact, I am terrified. Furthermore, I tested for COVID-19 antibodies recently, and results show very high natural immunity. I informed TRL of my immunity, but again received no response. I officially requested an accommodation process, and despite my long years of work at TRL, I did not even receive a response, which is a clear case of discrimination.

In order to keep my job, TRL requires me to risk serious injury or death by receiving a vaccine at the end of the pandemic, in spite of the fact that I have a high level of natural immunity, and refuses to let me wait for the new vaccine to come out, which I will be able to receive safely according to my doctor. This is a clear case of injustice. I have filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to seek remedy.


Christine Vincent

Grays Harbor County