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 Post subject: Vegan suing hospita for firing her bcz she refused flu shot
PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2013 1:01 am 
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She is suing for $650,000 citing that her veganism constitutes a moral and ethical belief as strong as any religion and even cited Bible passages that she argued backed her up.

This is interesting at many levels. There are eastern religions that are really philospohies but are seen as religions. It could easily be said depending on the individual that veganism is moral philospohy. There are components that could easily related to a religion or faith. You follow certain practices daily just as some people pray daily. Another similarity to a faith is within the vegan community you can be accused of "sinning" you ate,bought something or did something not vegan. This not unlike being confronted or judged by someone of an official faith for doing wrong. There is confession. Sometimes some confess to "backsliding" to something not vegan. In addition many people see veganism as complementing/completing their official faith. What do you think about this case?

News story:
http://www.ajc.com/news/ap/labor/flu-sh ... sue/nTzFC/

Blog/Commentary
http://thenailthatsticksup.com/2013/01/ ... uest-post/

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 Post subject: Re: Vegan suing hospita for firing her bcz she refused flu s
PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2013 2:10 am 
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I understand why this creates an interesting legal precedent, but I have to admit that I resent veganism being compared to a religion. My decision to be vegan is based on evidence and rational enquiry, as opposed to a blind faith in the dictates of Bronze Age superstition. That said, it also bothers me that protection of such blind faith in superstition trumps the protection of ethical decisions based on evidence and rational enquiry.

As to the case in question, it also irks me because it paints veganism as irrational, extreme, and anti-science (although I know she's not questioning the effectiveness/safety of vaccines). Like it or not, a lot of us have to do non-vegan things for work (serve meat/dairy, wear non-vegan safety gear, etc.) I think being fired for refusing to do something that is either essential to your job or essential to the health and safety of yourself and others at work is different from being fired because you wear a hijab or (in the case of veganism) refusing the steak at a business dinner (for lack of a better example).

This is from the blog post you linked to:

Quote:
Employers get some additional leeway. While they must generally accommodate the religious practices of their employees (where they intersect with job duties), employers don’t have to do so if it would cause them “undue hardship.” According to the EEOC, “an accommodation may cause undue hardship if it is costly, compromises workplace safety, decreases workplace efficiency, infringes on the rights of other employees, or requires other employees to do more than their share of potentially hazardous or burdensome work.”


I'm no lawyer, but in my opinion, working in a hospital and refusing a mandatory flu shot (for reasons other than health restrictions) seems to fall within that category.

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 Post subject: Re: Vegan suing hospita for firing her bcz she refused flu s
PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2013 7:47 am 
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lepelaar wrote:
This is from the blog post you linked to:

Quote:
Employers get some additional leeway. While they must generally accommodate the religious practices of their employees (where they intersect with job duties), employers don’t have to do so if it would cause them “undue hardship.” According to the EEOC, “an accommodation may cause undue hardship if it is costly, compromises workplace safety, decreases workplace efficiency, infringes on the rights of other employees, or requires other employees to do more than their share of potentially hazardous or burdensome work.”


I'm no lawyer, but in my opinion, working in a hospital and refusing a mandatory flu shot (for reasons other than health restrictions) seems to fall within that category.


Yup, if you work in a hospital, you should expect to be fully vaccinated. If you can't for health reasons, they may require you to wear protective gear. It is for the safety of the patients which honestly trumps your veganism.

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 Post subject: Re: Vegan suing hospita for firing her bcz she refused flu s
PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2013 8:15 am 
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while i agree that in the hospital setting there really is no alternative, and i hate the idea of MAKING veganism a religion, any parent who's tried to get their kid to not have to drink cow milk in school [and doesn't want to lie] might look longingly at an equivalent-to-religious status to give our beliefs legitimacy.

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 Post subject: Re: Vegan suing hospita for firing her bcz she refused flu s
PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2013 9:07 am 
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Tangent: torque, you really had to do that? (Incredible.)

I also really, really like what lepelaar said:

Quote:
...It also bothers me that protection of such blind faith in superstition trumps the protection of ethical decisions based on evidence and rational enquiry.

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 Post subject: Re: Vegan suing hospita for firing her bcz she refused flu s
PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2013 10:04 am 
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well, this is timely.
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/17/busin ... .html?_r=0
(but they do say they use armyworm cells, i'm writing them to see if they need fresh supplies of cells for each batch or if they only needed some to start out with and the process is self sustaining from here on out)

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Last edited by supercarrot on Fri Jan 18, 2013 10:14 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Vegan suing hospita for firing her bcz she refused flu s
PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2013 10:08 am 
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Veganism is a religious practice for me, but I don't think veganism as a practice or my religion in general (if it forbade any medical treatments) should trump the requirements of vaccination, TB testing, whatever that might be required by hospital employment in the same way that I don't think religious beliefs should trump the requirement that pharmacists dispense birth control pills or that ob/gyn students learn how to perform abortions. If you don't care about the health of your patients/the public, you shouldn't be in healthcare. Unfortunately the law doesn't work that way.


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 Post subject: Re: Vegan suing hospita for firing her bcz she refused flu s
PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2013 10:12 am 
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Ariann wrote:
Veganism is a religious practice for me, but I don't think veganism as a practice or my religion in general (if it forbade any medical treatments) should trump the requirements of vaccination, TB testing, whatever that might be required by hospital employment in the same way that I don't think religious beliefs should trump the requirement that pharmacists dispense birth control pills or that ob/gyn students learn how to perform abortions. If you don't care about the health of your patients/the public, you shouldn't be in healthcare. Unfortunately the law doesn't work that way.



And this raises a very good point. If the doctor that does not wish to do abortions is backup by the law, then the nurse should be as well. There is no difference, in her case. None.

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 Post subject: Re: Vegan suing hospita for firing her bcz she refused flu s
PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2013 10:16 am 
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kfad wrote:
Ariann wrote:
Veganism is a religious practice for me, but I don't think veganism as a practice or my religion in general (if it forbade any medical treatments) should trump the requirements of vaccination, TB testing, whatever that might be required by hospital employment in the same way that I don't think religious beliefs should trump the requirement that pharmacists dispense birth control pills or that ob/gyn students learn how to perform abortions. If you don't care about the health of your patients/the public, you shouldn't be in healthcare. Unfortunately the law doesn't work that way.



And this raises a very good point. If the doctor that does not wish to do abortions is backup by the law, then the nurse should be as well. There is no difference, in her case. None.

except that the doctor is probably the business owner, and the nurse is an employee.

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 Post subject: Re: Vegan suing hospita for firing her bcz she refused flu s
PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2013 10:27 am 
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Yeah, although the pharmacist is also an employee, and is protected by law to refuse to fulfill prescriptions.


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 Post subject: Re: Vegan suing hospita for firing her bcz she refused flu s
PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2013 10:29 am 
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supercarrot wrote:
kfad wrote:
Ariann wrote:
Veganism is a religious practice for me, but I don't think veganism as a practice or my religion in general (if it forbade any medical treatments) should trump the requirements of vaccination, TB testing, whatever that might be required by hospital employment in the same way that I don't think religious beliefs should trump the requirement that pharmacists dispense birth control pills or that ob/gyn students learn how to perform abortions. If you don't care about the health of your patients/the public, you shouldn't be in healthcare. Unfortunately the law doesn't work that way.



And this raises a very good point. If the doctor that does not wish to do abortions is backup by the law, then the nurse should be as well. There is no difference, in her case. None.

except that the doctor is probably the business owner, and the nurse is an employee.


Not here. And certainly not the doc that denied me birth control. He was employed by the clinic that was owned by the hospital. And pharmacist are mostly employees.

What I am saying is that it is not okay to back one stance (as these are both based on exactly the same idea) and not the other.

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 Post subject: Re: Vegan suing hospita for firing her bcz she refused flu s
PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2013 10:40 am 
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It's actually weirdly possible that a doctor appearing to be employed by a hospital is actually in private practice and is a contractor (basically this is true for all doctors at our local hospitals and also for the majority of the tech staff, I think only nurses are real employees). But it doesn't even matter, because if they're contracting with a hospital, it's in the hospital's interest to make that a requirement of the contract.


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 Post subject: Re: Vegan suing hospita for firing her bcz she refused flu s
PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2013 12:46 pm 
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(if anyone's interested in the answer to whether flublok uses live armyworms or self-replicating cells, it's the latter. they're called Sf+ cells, derived from Sf9 cells produced 30 years ago. i'd call this stuff effectively vegan. at least more vegan than the conventional eggy flu shot.) it's apparently ovarian tissue. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sf9 (but it sounds like the process is GMO, so... 'suptoyou)

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 Post subject: Re: Vegan suing hospita for firing her bcz she refused flu s
PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2013 6:19 pm 
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lepelaar wrote:
I understand why this creates an interesting legal precedent, but I have to admit that I resent veganism being compared to a religion. My decision to be vegan is based on evidence and rational enquiry, as opposed to a blind faith in the dictates of Bronze Age superstition. That said, it also bothers me that protection of such blind faith in superstition trumps the protection of ethical decisions based on evidence and rational enquiry.

As to the case in question, it also irks me because it paints veganism as irrational, extreme, and anti-science (although I know she's not questioning the effectiveness/safety of vaccines). Like it or not, a lot of us have to do non-vegan things for work (serve meat/dairy, wear non-vegan safety gear, etc.) I think being fired for refusing to do something that is either essential to your job or essential to the health and safety of yourself and others at work is different from being fired because you wear a hijab or (in the case of veganism) refusing the steak at a business dinner (for lack of a better example).

This is from the blog post you linked to:

Quote:
Employers get some additional leeway. While they must generally accommodate the religious practices of their employees (where they intersect with job duties), employers don’t have to do so if it would cause them “undue hardship.” According to the EEOC, “an accommodation may cause undue hardship if it is costly, compromises workplace safety, decreases workplace efficiency, infringes on the rights of other employees, or requires other employees to do more than their share of potentially hazardous or burdensome work.”


I'm no lawyer, but in my opinion, working in a hospital and refusing a mandatory flu shot (for reasons other than health restrictions) seems to fall within that category.

You are completely right that veganism and anti-science. Even though she was not claiming a potential health risk by not vaccinating, most vegans recognize that you can't be perfect. Choosing to fall on your sword over this issue seems to be un-wise at the very least.

Veganism might meet a functional definition of religion (in the same way that baseball would, something that plays a certain role in your life) but I don't think that it would ever rise to a substantive definition. Linking your veganism to your religion does not excuse you from taking the steps necessary to protect a vulnerable population. Many faiths would allow for an exception to a ritual practice if it was necessary to protect someone else. For example, my friends who work in medical fields and are Orthodox will drive on the Sabbath if there is an emergency that requires their assistance.

The hospital where she worked was a children's hospital, by the way.

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 Post subject: Re: Vegan suing hospita for firing her bcz she refused flu s
PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2013 6:37 pm 
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lutin wrote:
Tangent: torque, you really had to do that? (Incredible.)

no, i didn't. i wasn't vegan when my kids were in the US where that was an issue. but i know people on the forum have had to get the doctor to write a note [when there was no medical reason, for example] or make up something because simply stating preference or veganism wasn't allowed, while a religious preference was complied with, well, religiously.

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 Post subject: Re: Vegan suing hospita for firing her bcz she refused flu s
PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2013 7:14 pm 
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supercarrot wrote:
(if anyone's interested in the answer to whether flublok uses live armyworms or self-replicating cells, it's the latter. they're called Sf+ cells, derived from Sf9 cells produced 30 years ago. i'd call this stuff effectively vegan. at least more vegan than the conventional eggy flu shot.) it's apparently ovarian tissue. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sf9 (but it sounds like the process is GMO, so... 'suptoyou)

It's not really possible to make modern, effective vaccines on a large scale without biotechnology, including genetic engineering methods.


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 Post subject: Re: Vegan suing hospita for firing her bcz she refused flu s
PostPosted: Sat Jan 19, 2013 12:35 am 
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that's interesting because, at both the hospitals i work at, the flu shot is completely optional although strongly encouraged. a lot of people in my department decline because they have little faith in it's effectiveness and safety (but that is another topic altogether).


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 Post subject: Re: Vegan suing hospita for firing her bcz she refused flu s
PostPosted: Sun Jan 20, 2013 6:04 am 
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I can understand (I guess) having little faith in its effectiveness.

But they think it's unsafe?

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 Post subject: Re: Vegan suing hospita for firing her bcz she refused flu s
PostPosted: Sun Jan 20, 2013 8:11 am 
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torque wrote:
lutin wrote:
Tangent: torque, you really had to do that? (Incredible.)

no, i didn't. i wasn't vegan when my kids were in the US where that was an issue. but i know people on the forum have had to get the doctor to write a note [when there was no medical reason, for example] or make up something because simply stating preference or veganism wasn't allowed, while a religious preference was complied with, well, religiously.


indeed, we had to do that with our kid at daycare to get it on record that they were not to feed him formula or any other non-vegan product. They would accept the signature of either a religious leader or a doctor, because, apparently they are both equally qualified to discuss basic dietary requirements.

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 Post subject: Re: Vegan suing hospita for firing her bcz she refused flu s
PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2013 1:42 pm 
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linanil wrote:
lepelaar wrote:
Yup, if you work in a hospital, you should expect to be fully vaccinated. If you can't for health reasons, they may require you to wear protective gear. It is for the safety of the patients which honestly trumps your veganism.

Why should I (a hospital employee) expect to be vaccinated? Mandatory influenza vaccination wasn't included in the job description of the position I applied for, and it wasn't hospital policy at that time (and still isn't, but I can see it coming). It wasn't a condition of my admission to nursing school either.

Why is it that a primary-health intervention to reduce risk of transmission trumps my rights as a person? The flu vaccine doesn't guarantee my protection from the flu, and therefor doesn't guarantee patient safety either. Whether or not I am vaccinated, if a patient comes into contact with a contaminated person or object in hospital then they are at risk of becoming ill. If I'm not sick, it doesn't matter how much I cough on you; you're not gonna catch the flu from me.

In 7 years I've not been ill with a flu virus. I've not had so much as a cold. And I refuse the flu shot every year. In the height of flu season and the H1N1 outbreak in 2010 I cared for 6 confirmed H1N1 influenza patients (who were symptomatic before presenting to hospital, meaning they didn't acquire the virus while in hospital). I refused that vaccine too. I wasn't sick, but dozens of my vaccinated colleagues were.

In my hospital (and the guidelines are the same throughout the province), influenza patients (and even suspected cases) are isolated. All staff and visitors and patients are required to adhere to infection control measures in these areas, including shoe-covers, protective gowns, gloves, eye protection, N95 respirators and meticulous hand-hygiene. I take every appropriate measure to protect my patients from nosocomial infections, and there are no vaccines for the communicable diseases I have to deal with every single day at work. So if these measures were enough to keep me from becoming sick with H1N1 when I was literally surrounded by that virus, and enough to contain the virus (during that time, the internal medicine unit I worked on had zero instance of H1N1 being spread between patients), why should hospital employees be forced to be vaccinated?

And if the powers that be are so concerned about protecting the most vulnerable populations, why not make it mandatory that THEY be vaccinated the moment they enter the emergency department or the pre-op clinic?
Ariann wrote:
If you don't care about the health of your patients/the public, you shouldn't be in healthcare.

This reads like "If you won't be vaccinated, that means you don't care about the people you take care of." And that's a really hurtful thing to say to a nurse like me. You have no idea what I do, the abuse I take, what I put my body through for the sake of my patients' health. I work in a high-acuity community intensive care unit, I care for the sickest of the sick, and my team and I are the ones who snatch your loved ones from the hands of death every single day. I don't refuse the flu vaccine because I don't care about my patients... it has nothing to do with my patients... it's about ME. I'm a nurse, but I'm also a person with my own health beliefs and values. I think I deserve the same respect and autonomy granted to MY health decisions as is expected by you when you're a patient in my care.

/rant

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 Post subject: Re: Vegan suing hospita for firing her bcz she refused flu s
PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2013 1:59 pm 
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Your quotes are a little wonky but I'd expect in general, healthcare professionals are expected to be vaccinated. If you can't be or refuse, then measures should be taken that are considered protective enough.

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 Post subject: Re: Vegan suing hospita for firing her bcz she refused flu s
PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2013 2:31 pm 
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AlwaysHungry wrote:
This reads like "If you won't be vaccinated, that means you don't care about the people you take care of." And that's a really hurtful thing to say to a nurse like me. You have no idea what I do, the abuse I take, what I put my body through for the sake of my patients' health. I work in a high-acuity community intensive care unit, I care for the sickest of the sick, and my team and I are the ones who snatch your loved ones from the hands of death every single day. I don't refuse the flu vaccine because I don't care about my patients... it has nothing to do with my patients... it's about ME. I'm a nurse, but I'm also a person with my own health beliefs and values. I think I deserve the same respect and autonomy granted to MY health decisions as is expected by you when you're a patient in my care.

/rant


Do your health beliefs and values include infecting your patients with diseases that could potentially kill them? If that's how you feel, then the hospital has an obligation to not let you near patients who could have weak immune systems.

Once you become a health care professional, your own personal beliefs are trumped by your obligation to the patients you care for. I would be incredibly angry to find that a health care professional I was working with (or had taken my children to) had infected me or them with the flu or some other disease because they refused to be immunized.

So, no, your decisions do not deserve the same autonomy granted to your patients. That was a decision you should have realized you were making when you became a health care professional.

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 Post subject: Re: Vegan suing hospita for firing her bcz she refused flu s
PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2013 3:04 pm 
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I have gotten the flu vaccine most years but have still actually caught the flu. I was one of the few people in the service I worked in that availed of the H1N1 vaccine the first year it was available. I was one of a handful of people in the service that caught it and I was pretty darn ill with it.

Short story is..... you catch a communicable disease you go sick out of respect to other workers and for the people you care for. Vaccines for respiratory illnesses haven't worked for me in the past so I do doubt their effectiveness.

I didn't get the flu vaccine this year. It is the first year that I've not had any respiratory infections. I had an achey throat for about 2 days but I actually think that was more to do with me singing too loudly in the car than any infection.

Not getting the vaccine doesn't make me lousy at my job. I've taken punches, abuse and been spit on. I've had people smear their faeces on me. I've been threatened. I've been pushed. I've damage to my spine because I've had to deal with people with serious challenging behaviour. I have pain most days. I've been bullied to the point where I have nearly been hospitalised and have to take medication to help me cope. I've watched by pay drop by over 30% in the past 2 years. I still turn up to work with a smile on my face and a heart full of compassion. I make people in the depths of despair smile. I've given people who feel they have nothing to live for hope. I've made people that experience hearing and see things that aren't there feel normal. I've made people who live in fear feel safe. I've made people who have nobody feel like they have someone.

Don't tell me that because I chose not to have a vaccination invalidates my ability to care.

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 Post subject: Re: Vegan suing hospita for firing her bcz she refused flu s
PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2013 6:30 pm 
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What's a health "belief"? Either you follow evidence-based recommendations or you don't. There are lots of things we don't fully understand yet, but "beliefs" shouldn't really play into it when there is plenty of good science to support a recommendation.


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 Post subject: Re: Vegan suing hospita for firing her bcz she refused flu s
PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2013 6:37 pm 
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Beanitarian wrote:
What's a health "belief"? Either you follow evidence-based recommendations or you don't. There are lots of things we don't fully understand yet, but "beliefs" shouldn't really play into it when there is plenty of good science to support a recommendation.


And if the job requires it, you shouldn't expect to keep your job.

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