File Photo – Highland Park Hospital. | Photo: NorthShore University HealthSystem

14 employees who are set to be fired for refusing a COVID-19 vaccine mandate at NorthShore University HealthSystem, which operates hospitals in the Chicago area, have filed a class-action lawsuit.

14 unnamed employees being represented by Chicago-based Leahu Law Group and Florida-based Liberty Counsel filed the lawsuit on Monday in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

NorthShore University HealthSystem operates hospitals in Evanston, Highland Park, Glenview, Arlington Heights, Skokie and Chicago.

The lawsuit seeks to remedy NorthShore’s “pattern of unlawful discrimination” against employees who requested religious exemptions and accommodations from the hospital system’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

Lawyers for the plaintiffs are asking the court to grant a temporary restraining order against NorthShore and a preliminary injunction.

The suit states that the 14 employees will be fired by NorthShore on November 1 if the court does not grant the order by then.

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According to the lawsuit, the termination of the 14 employees will cause “incalculable and irreparable harm to them and their families as described herein, including homelessness, lack of medical care, lack of food and shelter, disrupted education for their children, financial ruin, and harms to their physical, mental and emotional health.”

The suit said that the plaintiffs are against the COVID-19 vaccines because they were “either developed from, or tested with, aborted fetal cells lines” or for other religious reasons.

In a statement to the Chicago Tribune, NorthShore said they understand “that getting vaccinated may be a difficult decision for some of our team members.”

“We value their committed service and respect their beliefs. However, COVID-19 has presented unique challenges that continue to threaten our communities and therefore we must prioritize the safety of our patients and team members in support of our broader mission,” the statement said.

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