Lawsuit calls Ascension vaccination policy ‘coercive, a charade’

One of the main arguments is that Ascension Health had no intention of granting religious exemptions.

INDIANAPOLIS — Ascension St. Vincent may face a class-action lawsuit for its COVID vaccination policy.

A newly-filed suit claims the company’s religious exemption option was “coercive” and a “charade.”

13 Investigates has pored over the 208-page document. One of the main arguments is that Ascension Health had no intention of granting religious exemptions.

Over the phone, one of the attorneys told 13News he doesn’t know of anyone who was immediately granted a religious exemption, telling me all 64 of the nurses, doctors and other health care workers named in this lawsuit were denied their request without the company even challenging the sincerity of their religious beliefs.

The lawsuit says there wasn’t even an attempt to try and accommodate employees, which they argue is a violation of Title 7 of the Civil Rights Act.

The suit says the process led to stress, financial strain, anxiety and even depression.

One woman lost her house. Another man says he got the vaccine despite his religious convictions and worries the stress contributed to his having a heart attack.

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Court documents argue the suspensions and forced resignations were not needed, pointing out Ascension Health recalled hundreds of employees after their religious exemptions were denied.

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Now, former and current employees are suing for damages including back pay.

13 Investigates reached out to Ascension Health about the lawsuit. A spokesperson said in an email he was unable to comment on pending litigation.

Attorneys are asking for class-action status. If that happens, they think they may have more than 2,500 plaintiffs.

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