Texas firefighter fired for refusing vaccination, sues city

Brett Horvath refused to get a shot for diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus; he said it was against his religious beliefs

By FireRescue1 Staff

LEANDER, Texas — A former firefighter is suing a city for firing him after he refused to get a vaccination due to his religious beliefs.

The Austin-American Statesman reported that in February 2016 firefighter Brett Horvath refused to get a vaccination shot for diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus. He said it was against his Christian beliefs; he was terminated March 2016.

Fire Chief Bill Gardner said it was a public health and public safety issue, according to the report.

The city worked diligently with Mr. Horvath to develop alternatives that would accommodate his religious beliefs and still fulfill its obligation to protect the health and safety of city personnel and members of the public that are served by the city of Leander Fire Department," said Joanna Salinas, the attorney for the city of Leander.

Christine Mann, spokeswoman for the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, said she wasn't aware of state requirements for vaccination of first responders.

"Many EMS providers and first responder organizations may require first responders to be vaccinated according to their exposure control plans," Mann said.

Horvath, who refused to wear a mask during his shift, wants his job back plus back pay, according to the report. 

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