A former scout is suing the Washington Nationals, claiming that they fired him over his refusal to get a COVID-19 vaccination.
The federal suit was filed by Bernard Gallo, who worked for the team for nearly a decade. It claims he was fired in August after the ballclub denied him a religious exemption to its company vaccine mandate – which does not apply to players.
“The Nationals continued to employ others — including another scout — who requested and received similar accommodations for medical reasons,” said one of Gallo’s attorneys, Charles LiMandri, in a statement.
“In addition, the accommodation Mr. Gallo sought was the same set of practices the Nationals had in place for him for over a year under the COVID-19 pandemic, both before and after vaccines became available.”
Scouts continued to meet virtually in 2021, LiMandri explained, as they had in 2020.
“The Nationals did not, and cannot, show why continuing to do what they had already been doing was an undue hardship,” he said.
Gallo’s attorneys claim that he was tested and found to have natural immunity, and that he was willing to be tested weekly and wear a mask. They defended his choice not to get vaccinated, in part because of his opinions about abortion.
“Mr. Gallo’s pro-life beliefs require that he [not] inject into his body a vaccine that is in any way connected with taking the life of another human being through abortion, a condition that he has learned is true of all COVID-19 vaccines currently available in the United States,” LiMandri said.
COVID vaccines do not contain aborted fetal cells. Fetal cell lines were used in the vaccines’ research and development. They’ve also been used in the development of Tylenol, Pepto Bismol, aspirin, Tums, Benadryl, Sudafed and others.
The suit seeks a reversal of Gallo’s firing, as well as back pay and restitution for what his lawyers call a “malicious deprivation of his rights.”
A Nationals spokesperson declined to comment on the lawsuit.