Healthcare workers for NorthShore University Health System, based out of Illinois, have recently settled a class action lawsuit over vaccine mandates. The hefty settlement, which reached over $10.3 million, will resolve claims employees made relating to the COVID-19 vaccine mandate. More than 500 current and former healthcare workers employed by the NorthShore University Health System will benefit from the $10,337,500 payout.
The class action lawsuit, which was originally brought back in October 2021, alleged employees were denied religious exemption for the health system’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate and unlawfully discriminated against. Employees who requested to opt-out of the vaccine mandate due to sincere religious objections were instead denied all religious exemptions and accommodation requests. Most were terminated, while others had no choice but to get vaccinated over fear of losing their job. Although the settlement is still awaiting approval by the federal District Court, affected healthcare workers who lost their jobs over refusing the vaccine will receive approximately $25,000 each. Those who were forced to accept the COVID shot in order to keep their jobs will receive approximately $3,000 each. Additionally, the settlement will allow any employee who was terminated due to their religious refusal of the COVID vaccine to be eligible to apply for rehire, with their previous seniority level, within 90 days of the court’s final approval.
This settlement is the first of its kind, and will certainly help pave the way for so many others that were wrongfully terminated for refusing the vaccine for religious beliefs or forced into obtaining the vaccine over fear of losing their jobs. If you’ve had a similar experience working in the health industry, speaking to an employment attorney will be helpful in understanding your rights. Give our firm, Fitapelli & Schaffer, LLP, a call for a free and confidential phone consultation today at (212)300-0375 to discuss any potential claims. You can also visit our website here for helpful information regarding your workplace rights.