Samantha Wise says she never wanted it to be this way. The Arkansas mother of 5 never expected to go on television to expose her former employer. During an interview with KARK-TV, Wise explained that she was wrongfully fired from Harvest Cannabis Dispensary, for not receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.
Wise says she has good reason to believe she would not be a good candidate for the shots and has a history of adverse reactions. Ironically, on their website, Harvest Cannabis Dispensary claims its mission is to offer non-pharmaceutical alternatives:
“Our clinic was established to provide quality treatment with compassion and convenience. Our mission is to provide an alternative, natural way of healing without using industrialized pharmaceuticals. We offer a broad array of cannabis services geared to address illnesses and injuries. Our team will guide you through your options to make sure that you are comfortable with your treatment plan. In order to provide our patients with the highest level of care, our goal is to create a treatment plan that will best suit your needs.”
Wise never expected her employer would let her go given her situation, “They actually did it — they really fired me — I didn’t think it was really going to happen,” Wise told KARK. “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.”
Wise explained in a little more detail why she has been so concerned about receiving the vaccine:
“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 said. “I don’t have good reaction with a lot of medicine.”
Harvest Cannabis Dispensary executive director Robbin Rahman wrote in a statement that all employees are required to receive vaccination:
“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.”
“I just wish it didn’t have to be this way,” Wise added, saying she wished her former employer would have permitted employees to make a personal decision about receiving the vaccine, rather than forcing them to chose between the vaccine and their job.
Chris Burk, an Arkansas employment attorney said what Wise’s former employer did was completely legal:
“In Arkansas, your employer can fire you for not taking [the vaccine], unless there is an issue with a medical issue or religious belief,” Burks explained.