Sofy Foda v. Valley Health System, Inc. and Simon Tsiouris

NJ Pharmacist Forced to Choose Between Her Job and her Eyesight

Dhillon Law Group filed a lawsuit and request for emergency injunctive relief against Valley Health System, Inc., and its medical director, Dr. Simon J. Tsiouris, on behalf of Hafsa “Sofy” Foda, a pharmacist who fled the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and attained asylum status in the United States.

Foda suffers from uveitis, an eye disorder. Foda’s uveitis and related disorders have caused substantial vision loss in one eye. Vaccines of all kinds can trigger uveitis, and three separate specialists have advised Foda to refrain from receiving any vaccines. Valley Health and Dr. Tsiouris have denied Foda’s request for a medical exemption, notwithstanding letters in her support from several specialists, and Valley Health has threatened  Foda with imminent termination. Foda currently works from home.

On Friday, Sept. 2, the court granted Foda’s request for an emergency injunction, preventing Valley Health from terminating her employment. Valley Health and Dr. Tsiouris have been ordered to justify their position in response to Ms. Foda’s application.

Foda’s lawsuit against Valley Health and Dr. Tsiouris alleges violations of her rights under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

“I do everything I can to make sure my patients stay safe, healthy and happy. I never expected to have my own job threatened for simply following my doctors’ advice, but I believe in the American justice system and trust it will protect my rights. That is why I came to this country,.” said Foda.

“Ms. Foda is a textbook example of the kind of person employment discrimination laws are designed to protect,” said Dhillon Law Group partner,  John-Paul Deol. “Employers have an obligation to provide accommodations to disabled employees like Ms. Foda. Instead, Valley Health has interfered with Ms. Foda’s right to protect her health and eyesight. No employee should have to go against their  doctor’s guidance and risk blindness in order to keep their job.”

Foda was told on August 31 that if she did not receive a vaccine by September 2, 2022, she would be fired on Sunday, September 4—the day she returns from medical leave.

“Ms. Foda embodies the American dream,” said Dhillon Law Group associate, Jesse Franklin-Murdock. “She escaped persecution and came to this country to make a better life for herself and her son. Ms. Foda has been an excellent pharmacist at Valley Health for nearly three years. Valley Health repaid her by threatening her job and violating her civil rights.”

Foda is seeking further injunctive relief to prevent Valley Health from terminating her, along with compensatory damages and punitive damages. The Court will hear Foda’s preliminary injunction motion on September 22, 2022.