Healthcare Workers Fired For Defying Vaccine Mandate Score Millions From Religious Freedom Lawsuit

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Dylan Housman Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent
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NorthShore University HealthSystem in Chicago will pay out $10.3 million after settling a lawsuit with employees who were fired for defying the system’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

Fourteen anonymous employees, including nurses, a pharmacy technician and a senior application analyst requested religious exemptions to the vaccine mandate but were turned down, according to The Chicago Tribune. They filed a lawsuit in October and have now reached a settlement with NorthShore for the eight-figure sum.

The settlement agreement was filed Friday in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, according to the Tribune. NorthShore is not admitting any wrongdoing, and said it still supports a vaccine mandate being in place.

“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,” the hospital said Monday.

NorthShore did agree to rehire the fourteen workers as part of the settlement, and it will allow them to return to work normally. The hospital previously had refused to grant exemptions in most circumstances, and when it did, it asked those employees to work remotely, according to the Tribune.

Approximately 523 workers were denied religious exemptions by NorthShore between July 1, 2021 and Jan 1, 2022, according to the settlement. 269 of those workers were fired or resigned after refusing the vaccine. (RELATED: Internal Documents Reveal CDC Worked With Big Tech To Censor COVID-19 Speech)

The settlement, if approved, will grant about $25,000 each to workers who were fired or resigned after being denied an exemption, and $3,000 each to those who got the vaccine after being denied. The lead plaintiffs would receive an extra $20,000 each.

The Supreme Court has upheld vaccine mandates for healthcare workers throughout the pandemic, but those mandates must include exemptions for medical or religious reasons.