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Former director of small state board sues state for firing him for refusing to get Covid-19 shots

The former director of a state board that selected designers for new government buildings today sued the state for the $10,525.64 in vacation and personal time he says he had accrued through Nov. 17, when he was fired for refusing to get Covid-19 shots, as required by Gov. Baker.

In his suit, filed in Suffolk Superior Court, Willard Perkins of Andover, says he refused shots for religious reasons. His suit asks a judge to rule the state violated his religious-freedom and equal-protection rights and to order the state to pay him for the accrued time, plus damages and interest.

Perkins had served as executive director of the state Designer Selection Board until he was fired.

In his suit, he said he applied for a religious exemption for the shots, but was denied.

A similar suit filed by a DCF worker in March remains pending in Suffolk Superior Court.

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PDF icon Complete complaint165.01 KB

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Comments

As much as I think it's foolish to refuse the shots, it's standard practice to pay out employees for vacation time accrued when they leave, voluntarily or otherwise.

He doesn't deserve his job back or other damages but being paid for vacation accrued is a reasonable request. I'm surprised the state would be arguing otherwise.

If he made $90k/yr and had 30 vacation days saved up, that's basically $10k.

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You are the decider of who deserves what.

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Need anything else decided?

The state has a webpage regarding vacation laws. While his termination was involuntary, some of the case law seems to support his argument.

The judge will make the actual decision although I'm sure they'll be reading Uhub comments for opinions from random people.

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That’s standard practice.

Good to know you’re on the side of employers screwing over their employees.

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That he ‘doesn’t deserve his job back’ due to not getting the shot.

Had he voluntary quit after being denied a religious exemption, it would be fine to rehire him should the mandate be later dropped.

But if he's going to pick and choose what job mandates to follow and which to ignore, he has no place in that role.

How do we know he won't ignore other procedures and select architects for public projects (his former job) based on his religious preferences?

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Everyone thinks they know what’s best for everyone else

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Getting vaccinated was literally best for everyone else. If you fought a mandate over clearly fake "religious reasons," then you don't give a crap about anyone else and shouldn't be working in public service. Go start your own private business.

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That he ‘doesn’t deserve his job back’ due to not getting the shot.

All he's asking for is money: back pay, vacation pay, "personal time" pay, and damages. While he does claim he was wrongfully terminated, he does not seem to be asking to be reinstated.

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It all depends on the specifics of how his employer defined time off. If it's earned time, then that is deferred compensation and indeed due to the employee at termination, regardless of reason. Vacation time, sick time, personal time, those are often legally distinct from earned time, and the employer may or may not be liable, depending on the contract and established HR policies.

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