PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — An Allegheny County employee fired after refusing to get the COVID-19 vaccine said he’s prepared to fight his termination.

Shane Chesher received his official termination news from the county in an email. He read the email on Thursday morning and shared it with KDKA.

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“The department has decided to terminate your employment with Allegheny County for failing to comply with its COVID-19 vaccination requirement,” part of the letter said.

Chesher, who most recently worked in the Parks Department, had had until midnight to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination

“It made me break down for a minute,” Chesher said. “As far as I know with the pension, from being terminated, I will only get the money I put into the pension and nothing else.”

For 11 years, Chesher worked for the county. The husband and father of two refused the vaccine on religious grounds.

The county denied his exemption citing an “undue hardship,” among other factors. Chesher believes people should be able to decide if they want the shot or not.

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For him, the battle is not over.

“I talked to my union rep,” Chesher said. “A grievance has been filed. We will move forward to arbitration and hopefully, we could get a victory there. If not, I will personally, along with other county employees, pursue legal counsel and fight this legally.”

In a release Thursday, the county said 94 percent of workers have submitted required documentation and vaccination status, with more coming in. It is unclear how many workers were fired.

As for Chesher, he said he’s already back working.

“I’ve gotten different offers with like construction, labor, painting,” he said. “People have started to offer me jobs. I’m looking forward to seeing what it brings me.”

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A lawyer said terminated county employees could file a grievance, which would be heard by an arbitrator. No word on when Chesher’s case will be heard.

Jennifer Borrasso