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United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division
November 30, 2021, Decided; November 30, 2021, Filed
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
It is a regrettable fact that the COVID-19 pandemic continues to roil nearly all facets of life in the United States and across the globe. Along with the immense toll in lives lost, persistent sickness, and material and financial costs, efforts to ameliorate the pandemic have generated fresh fissures along familiar fault lines. A recent source of COVID-19 is the new mandates—public and private—that certain people receive one of the approved COVID-19 vaccines. Such mandates have, perhaps unavoidably, led to collisions between the interests of public health, personal liberty, and public policy. [*2]
This case presents a tangible example of those colliding interests. A group of hospital workers face termination for their refusal, on religious grounds, to be vaccinated against the COVID-19 disease. Plaintiffs are employed by Defendant NorthShore University Health System, which is a conglomerate of local hospitals. Plaintiffs challenge NorthShore's policy requiring all of its employees to receive one of the available coronavirus vaccines in an effort to stem COVID-19 cases.
NorthShore's hospitals have been on the front lines fighting the pandemic in the Chicagoland area. Its employees, including Plaintiffs, have worked tirelessly to ameliorate the toll wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic. At the close of the first year of the pandemic, three COVID-19 vaccines became widely available to the American public. NorthShore determined that, for the health and safety of its staff, visitors, and patients, it would require its employees to be vaccinated.
NorthShore's vaccine requirement led to the case now before the Court. Plaintiffs registered religious objections to receiving any of the available COVID-19 vaccines because, Plaintiffs say, the vaccines were developed using cell lines derived from [*3] aborted fetuses. Plaintiffs offered NorthShore an alternative: in lieu of becoming vaccinated, Plaintiffs would instead submit to full-time masking and weekly COVID- 19 testing. But NorthShore insisted that Plaintiffs either get vaccinated or find work elsewhere. Plaintiffs now seek a judicial order preventing NorthShore from firing them based on their unvaccinated status. According to Plaintiffs, NorthShore's policy violates both Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as well as the Illinois Health Care Right of Conscience Act.
Full case includes Shepard's, Headnotes, Legal Analytics from Lex Machina, and more.
2021 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 228371 *; 2021 WL 5578790
JANE DOE 1, JANE DOE 2, JANE DOE 3, JANE DOE 4, JANE DOE 5, JANE DOE 6, JANE DOE 7, JANE DOE 8, JANE DOE 9, JANE DOE 10, JANE DOE 11, JANE DOE 12, JANE DOE 13, JANE DOE 14, Plaintiffs, v. NORTHSHORE UNIVERSITY HEALTHSYSTEM, Defendant.
Prior History: Jane Does v. Northshore Univ. Healthsystem, 2021 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 215028 (N.D. Ill., Nov. 1, 2021)
vaccine, Plaintiffs', preliminary injunction, irreparable harm, employees, accommodate, pseudonymously, damages, religious, undue hardship, merits, cases, exemption, class certification, courts, religious exemption, religious belief, class-wide, testing, preliminary injunctive relief, reasonable accommodation, likelihood of success, religious practice, compensatory, unvaccinated, violations, remedies, masking, costs, temporary restraining order