The case involves Plaintiff, Kaycee McCoy, a ten-year employee of the UVA Health System who along with hundreds of others, was presented a coercive “get vaxxed or get out” Covid shot mandate notice in August 2021.
McCoy applied for a religious exemption, which was allowed by law, submitting an online request and also a mail-delivered letter from her pastor, explaining her sincerely held religious beliefs and why these would preclude her receiving the experimental medical administration.
On September 30, 2021 McCoy received an email from a UVA committee “comprised of human resources personnel,” which denied Plaintiff’s request for a vaxx mandate exemption. In an October 4 response, McCoy inquired as to the reason for the denial and offered to submit additional documentation.
Defendant UVA did not respond.
An October 14 email from Defendant to Plaintiff stated that all decisions of the “committee” were binding and that there was no appeals process. In addition, McCoy was notified that she was suspended from her employment immediately and that she would be discharged in five days.
Unbeknownst to the general public and most University employees, UVA’s “committee” had a secret list of only six approved denominations for which religious exemptions would be granted. It is presently unspecified how or by whom those particular denominations were selected.
“…Plaintiff met the requirements necessary to show that she had sincerely held religious belief that allow her to seek an exception to the vaccine requirement. Further her application was sufficient on its face that it should not have been denied. The UVA policy allowed for religious exemptions and failed to grant one to Plaintiff on arbitrary grounds.
Because UVA acted in an arbitrary and capricious manner, this court reverses their decision to fire Plaintiff for failing to be vaccinated from Covid-19. They are hereby enjoined from preventing her employment on the basis of vaccination as long as she continues to qualify for a religious accommodation as properly applied. Plaintiff is awarded damages in the amount of her salary from the date of her wrongful firing to today, plus interest.”
Worrell’s precedent-setting decision bodes well for hundreds of other UVA employees who were wrongfully denied accommodation and subsequently terminated.
A comparable case involving UVA and former employees was heard in a Charlottesville Federal Court on July 24. Plaintiffs in that action are seeking similarly wronged former UVA employees to conjoin their suit.