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CHICAGO (LifeSiteNews) — In the nation’s first class action settlement of its kind, a federal court judge has granted final approval of a $10.3 million settlement for over 500 healthcare workers who were unlawfully denied religious exemptions from the COVID-19 shot.

Judge John F. Kness of the Northern District of Illinois granted this final verbal approval in Jane Doe 1, et al. v. Northshore University HealthSystem on Monday. Following the final judgment that is expected to be entered this week, the defendant NorthShore will have to pay $10,337,500 to their over 500 current and former employees in this class action lawsuit who were deemed “victims of religious discrimination, and who were punished for their religious beliefs against taking an injection associated with aborted fetal cells.”

NorthShore, a private “integrated healthcare delivery system” that consists of six hospitals and other medical facilities in the Chicago area, mandated its 18,000 workers to receive the COVID shot in 2021. Among those workers, some were unlawfully discriminated against and denied religious exemptions, and their employment was later terminated. Other employees who are part of the suit were forced to accept the shot against their religious beliefs.

A press release from Liberty Counsel explains that the 13 healthcare workers who were terminated for refusing to take the shot will receive $24,000 each in compensation. Additionally, these individuals will be eligible to apply for rehire within 90 days of final settlement approval by the court, where they may resume their previously held seniority-level positions.

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Employees who were forced to take the COVID-19 shot against their religious beliefs to keep their positions at NorthShore will also be granted approximately $3,700 each in compensation. These former and current employees should expect to receive this compensation within 60 days of the final approval of the settlement from the court.

In addition to the multi-million dollar settlement, NorthShore also must change their “no religious accommodations” policy that led to the unlawful termination of their employees and forced others to take the Covid-19 shot against their religious beliefs. The revised policy will be “consistent with the law” and allow for religious accommodations for employees across their numerous facilities.

“This classwide settlement involves health care workers who have been unlawfully discriminated against and denied religious exemptions from the COVID shot mandate,” said Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver. “These heroes who daily give their lives to protect and treat their patients also must provide for their own families.”

“This settlement 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,” Staver continued.

As previously reported by LifeSiteNews, employees still have the right to “reasonable accommodation for their religious beliefs,” even when “an employer or even the federal government pushes a vaccine mandate under the guise of a pandemic.”

Unfortunately, these Illinois healthcare workers were not alone when it came to having their jobs terminated due to this unlawful discrimination. New York City fired approximately 1,700 employees for not receiving the COVID jab. A New York State Supreme Court later reinstated these employees in October and ordered back pay for them, as their rights were clearly violated when their positions were terminated. The court also noted that “being vaccinated does not prevent an individual from contracting or transmitting COVID-19.”

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