The $10.3 million settlement in a class-action lawsuit on Friday not only opens the door for the more than 500 health care workers who were terminated to be rehired and their seniority reinstated, it also requires the NorthShore University HealthSystem in Illinois to provide religious accommodations in every position across its numerous facilities. NorthShore must also change its unlawful "no religious accommodations" policy to make it consistent with the law.
"[This settlement is] an encouragement to other employees who, like these at NorthShore, were abused by these unlawful mandates: stay the course, you're doing the right thing, and we will pursue justice for you." (Mat Staver)
The 13 NorthShore employees who are the lead plaintiffs in the lawsuit were represented by Liberty Counsel.
"This classwide settlement providing compensation and the opportunity to return to work is the first of its kind in the nation involving COVID shot mandates," states Liberty Counsel founder Mat Staver. "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 legal group estimates that the NorthShore employees who were terminated or resigned because of their religious refusal of a COVID shot will receive approximately $25,000 each. Those who were forced to accept the injection against their religious beliefs to keep their jobs will receive approximately $3,000 each.