Judge approves $10M class-action settlement over mandatory COVID shots
Employees can apply for rehire within 90 days at their "previous seniority level," lawyers say.
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A federal judge has approved a $10.3 million class-action settlement with a university healthcare system and workers who were denied religious exemptions from COVID-19 vaccine mandates.
Chicago-based NorthShore University HealthSystem came to terms with 500 current and former healthcare workers this summer, but it was only Friday that U.S. District Judge John Kness approved the settlement terms.
The class covers NorthShore team members who submitted religious exemption requests between July 1, 2021 and January 1, 2022, were denied exemptions and either took a vaccine to avoid termination or were fired or resigned due to their religious objections.
The order says no class members "timely opted out" of the settlement or filed a request for exclusion. The plaintiffs' lawyers at Liberty Counsel will receive $2.06 million in attorney's fees, and the 13 class representatives, $20,000 each.
Liberty Counsel said the settlement checks will be sent in 60 days. Employees who were fired can apply for rehire within 90 days, "and they will retain their previous seniority level," the law firm said. Several have already been rehired, Liberty Counsel said.