Health care workers who sued over COVID-19 vaccine mandate win $10 million settlement. The settlement was a first-of-its-kind action against a private employer who turned down hundreds of requests for religious exemptions from a COVID-19 vaccine mandate.
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According to a settlement agreement signed on July 29, a group of healthcare professionals who sued their hospital over a COVID-19 vaccine requirement are expected to collect $10 million.
In October 2021, over a dozen employees of the NorthShore University HealthSystem in Illinois filed a lawsuit, claiming that the hospital was improperly withholding religious exemptions from the mandate.
The workers and NorthShore “have agreed to settle this case” following eight months of negotiations, according to a document (read below) submitted to federal court.
According to the terms of the settlement, NorthShore will contribute $10,337,500 to a settlement fund for employees who were impacted by its mandate and who requested a religious accommodation but were denied, and who either received a vaccination to prevent termination or were fired or resigned between July 1, 2021, and January 1, 2022. This group of workers includes 473 people.
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NorthShore will also change its vaccination policy “to enhance its accommodation procedures for individuals with approved exemptions for sincerely held religious belief.”
Employees who were fired due to their religious convictions about vaccinations are able to reapply for employment.
The proposed settlement was sent to U.S. District Judge John Kness, the Trump appointee in charge of the case.
The settlement was a first-of-its-kind action against a private employer who turned down hundreds of requests for religious exemptions from a COVID-19 vaccine mandate, according to Liberty Counsel, the legal team representing the plaintiffs.
“The drastic policy change and substantial monetary relief required by the settlement will bring a strong measure of justice to NorthShore’s employees who were callously forced to choose between their conscience and their jobs,” Horatio Mihet, vice president of legal affairs at the group, said in a statement.
“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,” he added.
Affected employees can submit a request for funding from the $10 million pool if the deal is approved.
According to calculations, each employee who eventually received a vaccination despite expressing religious objections would be eligible for roughly $3,000, while those who were fired or resigned may receive up to about $25,000.
The final sums will be determined by, among other things, the number of workers who request for compensation.
The accord also allocates $260,000 for the identified plaintiffs in the lawsuit. In addition to the other money, each would be expected to get around $20,000.
Additionally, Liberty Counsel is requesting $2 million in legal fees, or roughly 20% of the total compensation.
Read the document below: