NorthShore reaches $10.3M settlement in vaccine mandate case
NorthShore University HealthSystem will pay more than $10.3 million to resolve allegations it unlawfully discriminated against employees and denied religious exemptions under its COVID-19 vaccine mandate.
The settlement was filed last week in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois’ eastern division. Liberty Counsel, a Christian organization that provides litigation assistance, sued on behalf of more than 500 current and former workers at the health system.
“Employers that unlawfully forced their employees to get the COVID jabs just got a massive wake-up call,” Liberty Counsel said in a statement. “This is a historic, first-of-its-kind class action settlement against a private employer that unlawfully denied religious exemption requests to COVID shots.”
Along with changing how they consider religious exemptions, the health system will allow unvaccinated NorthShore workers who were let go after they claimed religious exemptions to return.
“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 system said in a statement. “The settlement reflects implementation of a new system-wide vaccine policy which will include accommodation for team members with approved exemptions, including former employees who are rehired.”