INDIANA (WEHT) – An Evansville hospital is part of a lawsuit in which workers claim they were forced to compromise their religious beliefs.

More than sixty workers from Ascension Health have filed a lawsuit saying the company violated their religious beliefs by firing them when they refused to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Ascension Health is the parent company of Ascension St. Vincent which operates hospitals in Vanderburgh and Warrick counties.

The workers are asking a judge to give the lawsuit class action status.  The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in Indianapolis against numerous Ascension facilities state-wide.  The lawsuit claims Ascension St. Vincent set up a system where workers who had religious objects to the vaccine could opt out of receiving it, but the lawsuit claims instead the hospital denied these exemptions.

 According to the suit, St. Vincent Ascension Health established a religious exemption review process which, “failed to individually and properly assess each application for religious exemption.”

The plaintiff’s claim Ascension Health’s actions were calculated to put enormous pressure on thousands of healthcare workers to abandon their sincerely held religious beliefs and receive a COVID-19 vaccine. 

In many of these cases, Ascension Health’s sole explanation for its denial of religious exemptions was a single sentence emailed to each requester: “Due to the nature of your role, approving this accommodation poses undue hardship to the organization due to increased risk to the workplace and patient safety.”

The lawsuit is asking for the fired workers religious objections be granted and that the workers be returned to their jobs with back pay.

We have reached out to St. Vincent for comment, but they have told Eyewitness News they will not comment on pending litigation.

A copy of the document can be found below.