A Chicago-based health care system has agreed to pay $10.3 million to settle a lawsuit brought by fourteen health care workers who were fired or resigned after refusing to get the experimental COVID injections. The workers sued NorthShore University HealthSystem last fall, alleging that NorthShore refused to grant them religious exemptions from its vaccine mandate.
Thanks to a Supreme Court ruling last winter, COVID-19 vaccine mandates for health care workers are still the norm across hospital systems nationwide, even as evidence mounts that the experimental injections are neither safe nor effective.
In January, SCOTUS upheld a Biden regime edict that required hospitals across the U.S. to impose COVID-19 vaccine mandates on their workers, allowing only medical and religious exemptions. The mandate applies to health care providers that receive federal Medicare or Medicaid funding, affecting about 76,000 health care facilities as well as home health care providers.
The settlement in the NorthShore case was on behalf of more than 500 current and former health care workers who were denied religious exemptions in the NorthShore system.
As part of the settlement, NorthShore has agreed to rehire the employees who were fired, the Chicago Tribune reported.
The lead plaintiffs—who sued NorthShore last October—were represented by Liberty Counsel, a 501 tax-exempt religious liberty organization that engages in litigation that supports evangelical Christian values.
Liberty Counsel sent a demand letter to NorthShore, last October, on behalf of the fourteen health care workers who objected to NorthShore’s “Mandatory COVID-19 Vaccination Policy.”
“If NorthShore had agreed to follow the law and grant religious exemptions, the matter would have been quickly resolved and it would not have cost NorthShore anything,” Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver said in a statement, Monday. “But NorthShore refused to follow the law and instead denied ALL religious exemptions and accommodation requests.”
Each member of the class action will receive “substantial compensation,” Staver said.
Liberty Counsel lawyers asked the court to allow the settlement to apply to “all NorthShore workers who were fired or resigned or who got vaccines because they were denied religious exemptions.”
The proposed settlement agreement was filed Friday in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, and must still be approved by a judge.
If the settlement agreement and request for it to cover more than 500 workers are approved, workers who were fired or resigned could receive about $25,000 each, and employees who got vaccines after their religious exemption requests were denied could get about $3,000 each, according to the Liberty Counsel. The 13 lead plaintiffs in the lawsuit would get an additional $20,000 each. One of the original plaintiffs dropped out of the case because the exemption was approved.
NorthShore will potentially have to pay a total of 10,337,500 million dollars to compensate the health care employees.
NorthShore said it would continue to require its workers to get the experimental gene therapies, but, would be changing its “no religious accommodations” policy.
Moving forward, it will review individual workers’ requests for religious exemptions, and if those exemptions are approved, NorthShore will work to accommodate them, regardless of their positions.
“We continue to support systemwide, evidence-based vaccination requirements for everyone who works at NorthShore – Edward-Elmhurst Health and thank our team members for helping to keep our communities safe,” NorthShore said in a statement Monday.
Staver described the class action settlement as “historic,” and the “first-of-its-kind” against a private employer that denied religious exemption requests to COVID shots.”
“Employers that unlawfully forced their employees to get the COVID jabs just got a massive wake-up call,” Staver said in a statement on Monday, adding that the settlement will “send shock waves across the nation.”
This settlement should be a wake-up call to every employer that did not accommodate or exempt employees who opposed the COVID shots for religious reasons.
Let this case be a warning to employers that violated Title VII. It is especially significant and gratifying that this first classwide COVID settlement protects health care workers. Health care workers are heroes who daily give their lives to protect and treat their patients. They are needed now more than ever.
“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,” said Horatio Mihet, Liberty Counsel’s vice president of legal affairs and chief litigation counsel, in a news release. “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 settlement comes just days after a federal judge in Ohio sided with Liberty Counsel in a case challenging vax mandates the military. The U.S. District Court for the Southern District issued a class-wide preliminary injunction protecting members of the U.S. Air Force and Space Force from the Biden administration’s mandate.