Although many health care experts and elected officials pushed for vaccine mandates in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19, a wide range of Americans were opposed to such requirements — and many lost their jobs for refusing to comply.
Now, hundreds of hospital employees in Illinois, including many who have since resigned or been fired, will share an eight-figure settlement following a lawsuit filed just under a year ago.
All parties agreed to the $10.3 million settlement late last month and more than 500 current and employees from more than a dozen NorthShore University HealthSystems locations were named as litigants. The health care workers said that the hospital system did not provide religious exemptions to the vaccine mandate.
BREAKING REPORT: NorthShore University HealthSystem Workers in Illinois Win TEN MILLION DOLLAR SETTLEMENT After Suing Over COVID Vax Mandate…
— Chuck Callesto (@ChuckCallesto) July 30, 2022
Horatio G. Mihet of Liberty Council, the firm that represented the employers, expressed satisfaction with the “historic” result.
“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,” he added, suggesting that the settlement should send a clear message to other employers across the country.
Mihet said that U.S. District Judge John Kness’ ruling set a precedent that employers “cannot refuse to accommodate those with sincere religious objections to forced vaccination mandates.”
As for those NorthShore employees who were fired for refusing a vaccine on religious grounds may apply within 90 days of the settlement’s approval and the hospital will be obligated to rehire them for their prior position.
Those who lost their job can expect a $25,000 payout with more than a dozen lead plaintiffs eligible for another $20,000 on top of that. Employees who gave into pressure to rescind their religious objections and received a shot to keep their jobs will receive roughly $3,000 from the settlement.
About 20% of the settlement is earmarked for legal fees.
While vaccine mandates within the healthcare industry have sparked a number of similar lawsuits, there have also been complaints in other sectors of the economy.
Earlier this month, former Washington State head football coach Nick Rolovich, a Catholic, filed a $25 million lawsuit, claiming that he was wrongfully terminated for refusing a vaccine because of religious objections.