The first settlement in the U.S. has been reached in a class action lawsuit filed by health care workers over a university system’s covid ‘vaccine’ mandate.

Chicago-based NorthShore University HealthSystem has agreed to pay more than 500 current and former health-care workers a total of $10,337,500 as part of the terms of the settlement. It’s also changing its policy to accommodate religious exemption requests and rehiring former employees who were fired or forced to resign whose exemption requests were denied.

Represented by the nonprofit religious freedom organization Liberty Counsel, NorthShore employees sued, alleging they were discriminated against because they were denied religious exemptions from the company’s vaccine mandate. The settlement was filed Friday in the federal Northern District Court of Illinois.

The is the “first-of-its-kind class action settlement against a private employer who unlawfully denied hundreds of religious exemption requests to covid shots,” Liberty Counsel said. Its founder and chairman, Mat Staver, said it “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.”

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex and national origin.

The settlement nearly concludes a conflict that began after NorthShore rejected employees’ religious accommodation requests to its “Mandatory covid Vaccination Policy.” Last October, Liberty Counsel sent a demand letter on behalf of the impacted employees but NorthShore didn’t change its policy. As a result, Liberty Counsel filed a class action lawsuit.

“If NorthShore had agreed then to follow the law and grant religious exemptions, the matter would have been quickly resolved and it would have cost it nothing,” Liberty Counsel said.

While the parties have agreed to the settlement, it still has to be approved by the court. Employees of NorthShore who were denied religious exemptions will receive notice of the settlement and be given an opportunity to comment, object, request to opt out, or submit a claim form for payment within deadlines yet to be established by the court.

The settlement requires NorthShore to change its “no religious accommodations” policy, which it has agreed to do, and provide religious accommodations in every position throughout its company.

Read the rest