In an epic and first-of-its-kind lawsuit, the NorthShore Hospital facility has agreed to pay discriminated employees $10.3 million to resolve the lawsuit regarding their unlawful COVID-19 vaccine mandate practices.
NorthShore University HealthSystem is an acute-health care facility in Evanston, Illinois, that denied 523 employees’ religious exemptions from its COVID-19 vaccine mandate request between July 2021 and January 2022.
NorthShore’s original requirement was for then-approximately 17,000 employees to take the COVID-19 vaccine.
Some healthcare workers were fired for not getting the vaccine, although they presented a religious exemption. Approximately 269 people resigned or were fired from jobs at NorthShore and were denied religious exemptions. About 204 employees actually took the vaccine after their religious exemptions were denied.
Employees cited the use of fetal tissue in medical research (in vaccines), which went against their religious beliefs and did not want to get vaccinated.
In October of 2021, Liberty Counsel sent a demand letter to NorthShore on behalf of several workers who objected the vaccine. Liberty stated that if the healthcare facility had followed the law and granted religious exemptions, the issue could have been resolved quickly.
The Class Action Lawsuit
On July 29th, Liberty Counsel settled the nation’s first-of-it’s-kind class-action legal suit for healthcare workers over COVID-19 vaccine mandates from NorthShore facility.
The settlement says workers were unlawfully discriminated against and denied the exemption.
NorthShore agreed to a $10,337,500 fund that provides compensation to about 523 current or former employees discriminated against and denied religious exemptions when the vaccine mandate was requested.
Employees who received vaccines and quit because of it, or were fired due to “religious declination of a COVID-19 vaccine,” according to the terms of the proposed agreement, are eligible for payouts.
Liberty Counsel said NorthShore is now required, as part of the agreement, to allow unvaccinated employees to work if they have an approved religious exemption, which will now be considered on a case-by-case basis.
In addition, unvaccinated employees who were let go because they claimed religious exemptions are now eligible to be brought back.
Settlement Serves As A Strong Warning
According to CBN News, Liberty Counsel Vice President of Legal Affairs and Chief Litigation Counsel Horatio G. Mihet said, “This settlement should also serve as a strong warning to employers across the nation that they cannot refuse to accommodate those with sincere religious objections to forced vaccination mandates.”
The class-action lawsuit settlement was filed Friday in the federal Northern District Court of Illinois, and is pending approval from the court.