Several people in Illinois will have a better holiday season after a federal judge approved a $10 million wrongful termination settlement on Dec. 19. The lawsuit claimed that these employees were fired or forced to resign because they refused to take the covid-19 vaccine for "religious reasons."
The settlement, an extension of the preliminary version announced in July, obligates NorthShore University HealthSystem in Chicago to pay $10.3 million to workers who were affected by the measure requiring covid-19 vaccinations for healthcare workers between July 1, 2021, and Jan. 1, 2022.
The affected workers gave several reasons for not taking the vaccine. Some claimed that their religion prevented them from doing so or that they were against the vaccine which was "either developed from, or tested with aborted fetal cell lines."
Liberty Counsel welcomes the decision
The approval for wrongful termination, affirmed by U.S. District Judge John Kness, asserts that none of the workers "timely opted out" in "to the settlement or filed a request for exclusion." The magistrate will also issue a written judgment later this week.
However, gaining approval is already cause for celebration, as Liberty Counsel's vice president of legal affairs and senior litigation counsel Harry Mihet said in a statement:
After many months and long hours, we are pleased to finally get the court’s final approval of this classwide settlement for these health care workers who were unlawfully discriminated against and denied religious exemptions from the covid shot mandate. This case should set a precedent for other employers who have violated the law by denying religious exemptions for their employees.
Liberty Counsel will also get a good amount for its services. According to Just the News, the lawyers will receive $2.06 million in attorney fees, while the 13 class representatives will get $20,000 each.
The firm also reports in its press release that settlement checks will be mailed within the next 60 days. In addition, workers who so wish may request the company to rehire them in the next 90 days, and the company must do so while retaining their "and they will retain their previous seniority level," as stated in the letter, which also states that several employees have already been reinstated.