July 31, 2022: On July 29, 2022, Liberty Counsel settled America’s first class-wide lawsuit for healthcare workers over a coronavirus vaccine mandate for more than $10.3 million.
The class action settlement against NorthShore University Health System in Chicago is on behalf of more than 500 current and former healthcare workers who were unlawfully discriminated against and denied religious exemptions from the Covid-19 vaccine mandate. The agreed upon settlement was filed in the federal Northern District Court of Illinois.
As a result of the settlement, NorthShore will pay $10,337,500 to compensate the healthcare employees who were victims of religious discrimination, and who were punished for their beliefs against taking an injection associated with aborted fetal cells.
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It is a historic, first-of-its-kind class action settlement against a private employer who unlawfully denied hundreds of religious exemption requests to the jabs.
The settlement needs to be approved by the federal district court. Employees of NorthShore who were denied exemptions will receive notice of the settlement, and will have an opportunity to comment, object, request to opt out, or submit a claim form for payment out of the settlement fund, all in accordance with deadlines that will be set by the court.
As part of the settlement agreement, NorthShore will also change its unlawful “no religious accommodations” policy to make it consistent with the law, and to provide religious accommodations in every position across its numerous facilities.
No position in any NorthShore facility will be considered off limits to unvaccinated employees with approved religious exemptions.
In addition, employees who were terminated because of their religious refusal of the jabs will be eligible for rehire if they apply within 90 days of final settlement approval by the court, and they will retain their previous seniority level.
In October 2021, Liberty Counsel sent a demand letter to North Shore on behalf of numerous healthcare workers who had objections to NorthShore’s “Mandatory Covid-19 Vaccination Policy.” If NorthShore had agreed then to follow the law and grant religious exemptions, the matter would have been quickly resolved and it would have cost it nothing.
But, when NorthShore refused to follow the law, and instead denied all religious exemption and accommodation requests for employees working in its facilities, Liberty Counsel filed a class action lawsuit, along with a motion for a temporary restraining order and injunction.
Liberty Counsel Vice-President of Legal Affairs and Chief Litigation Counsel Horatio G. Mihet said, “We are very pleased with the historic, $10 million settlement achieved in our class action lawsuit against NorthShore University Health System.
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