Dozens of employees of St. Louis-based Ascension have filed a lawsuit claiming their religious beliefs were violated when the company fired them after refusing to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Our partners at WEHT-TV report the lawsuit claims Ascension, which operates numerous hospitals in Indiana, denied religious exemptions for the workers.
More than 60 people filed the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana and are seeking class action status.
According to the lawsuit, Ascension St. Vincent, which operates the hospitals, “established a religious exemption review process which failed to individually and properly assess each application for religious exemption.”
“Ascension Health established a coercive process calculated to force healthcare workers and staff to abandon their religious objections to the COVID-19 vaccination and receive the vaccination against their will,” the lawsuit states. ” Ascension Health’s pressure tactics involved delaying final decisions on requests for religious exemptions and denying applications for exemption within time frames that gave applicants little time after denial to consider options other than vaccination, among other things.”
The lawsuit alleges in many cases, the employees received the same, one-sentence response to their exemption requests. The plaintiffs also claim Ascension employees in fully remote positions were also denied exemptions.
The plaintiffs are seeking to be reinstated to their previous positions with back pay and granted their religious exemptions to the vaccine.
WEHT reached out to Ascension for comment, but the company said it would not comment on pending litigation.
You can view the full lawsuit, courtesy of WEHT, by clicking here.