The federal Northern District Court of Illinois has granted preliminary approval and scheduled a fairness hearing regarding the class action settlement against NorthShore University HealthSystem on behalf of more than 500 current and former health care workers who were unlawfully discriminated against and denied religious exemptions from the COVID shot mandate. Liberty Counsel settled the nation’s first classwide lawsuit for health care workers over a COVID shot mandate, for more than $10.3 million.
Federal Judge John F. Kness set the fairness hearing for December 19, 2022 in Jane Doe 1, et al. v. Northshore University Healthsystem.
As a result of the settlement, NorthShore will pay $10,337,500 to compensate these health care employees who were victims of religious discrimination, and who were punished for their religious beliefs against taking an injection associated with aborted fetal cells.
This is a historic, first-of-its-kind class action settlement against a private employer who unlawfully denied hundreds of religious exemption requests to COVID-19 shots.
As part of the settlement agreement, NorthShore will also change its unlawful “no religious accommodations” policy to make it consistent with the law, and to provide religious accommodations in every position across its numerous facilities. No position in any NorthShore facility will be considered off limits to unvaccinated employees with approved religious exemptions.
In addition, employees who were terminated because of their religious refusal of the COVID shots will be eligible for rehire if they apply within 90 days of final settlement approval by the court, and they will retain their previous seniority level.
The amount of individual payments from the settlement fund will depend on how many valid and timely claim forms are submitted during the claims process. If the settlement is approved by the court and all or nearly all of the affected employees file valid and timely claims, it is estimated that employees who were terminated or resigned because of their religious refusal of a COVID shot will receive approximately $25,000 each, and employees to were forced to accept a COVID shot against their religious beliefs to keep their jobs will receive approximately $3,000 each.
Current and former team members of NorthShore who may be part of the settlement class should refer to a website created especially for them, LC.org/northshore, to find important information including the detailed notice approved by the court, deadlines, and the claim form required to be submitted by individuals who wish to receive a payment from the settlement fund.