Arkansas mother of 5 fired for refusing COVID-19 vaccine

CONWAY, Ark. (NewsNation Now) — An Arkansas mother of five was fired from her job because she refused to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Samantha Wise alleges she was fired because she expressed concerns about receiving a vaccine and decided against inoculation. Her employer at the time, Harvest Cannabis Dispensary in Conway, made coronavirus vaccination mandatory for all employees.

“I am always that one out of every 10 or so that has a bad reaction. I am that one – so I would just rather not,” Wise told NewsNation affiliate KARK. “I don’t have good reaction with a lot of medicine.”

Wise was told to turn in her badge and key card March 3, after telling dispensary executives she wouldn’t get the vaccine.

“They actually did it– they really fired me– I didn’t think it was really going to happen,” said Wise. “I knew most everybody’s names that came in there. I liked making people’s day. That’s my main thing in life is to just make people smile.”

Harvest Cannabis Dispensary’s Executive Director, Robbin Rahman, did not comment directly on Wise’s termination, however, shared a statement with KARK. There were a number of factors that played a role said the company’s statement. Read the full statement below:

Harvest has a policy of not commenting on the circumstances surrounding the termination of any employee. However, the former employee that is the subject of KARK’s story was terminated based on a number of factors and no single factor was determinative, including whether he or she did or did not get a COVID-19 vaccine.

With respect to the Covid-19 vaccine, Harvest takes very seriously its obligation to maintain a safe environment for its patients and also its employees. This obligation has never been more relevant than over the past year, during which every city – big and small – has been in the grips of a deadly pandemic.  Harvest is a medical facility and many of its patients suffer from serious medical conditions and are considered “high risk.” Harvest’s employees encounter upwards of 500 patients per day, often serving them in a one-on-one encounter. In other words, absent a targeted program, a medical marijuana dispensary like Harvest would pose a serious threat to the very people it is designed to help. With the advice and direction of our in-house physician, Dr. Johanna Rahman M.D., we have adopted several policies to do everything we possibly can to make sure Harvest is not a vector for infection.  These policies include:

All employees, managers and owners must receive a COVID-19 vaccination as a condition of continued employment. Of course, for any employee that has provided notice of a medical or religious basis for not receiving the vaccine, Harvest will attempt to accommodate such employee to the extent possible.

All employees, managers and owners must wear a mask at all times while inside any part of the facility;

All patients, customers or other visitors must wear a mask at all times while inside any part of the facility;

Social Distancing is enforced to the fullest extent possible; and

All surfaces are sanitized daily.

We understand that not everyone will agree with these policies for a variety of reasons. However, Harvest will always adopt policies that are designed to protect the health and safety of our patients and employees, no matter the circumstances.

Harvest Cannabis Dispensary