Rolovich lawsuit against Washington State gets late 2024 trial date
Aug 10, 2023, 7:39 PM
(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
Former Washington State University (WSU) football coach Nick Rolovich, who was fired for refusing to get the COVID-19 vaccine, will get his day in court, but it won’t come anytime soon.
A federal judge in Spokane set a trial date for December 9, 2024.
Trial date set, 12/9/2024.
— Nick Rolovich (@NickRolovich) August 9, 2023
Rolovich originally sued Gov. Jay Inslee, WSU Athletic Director Pat Chun and the university after he was fired in 2021 for defying the state vaccination mandate. The claims against Inslee and Chun were dismissed in May, but the case against the university is moving forward.
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According to the decision written by U.S. District Court Judge Thomas O. Rice, the court ruled that enforcing vaccine mandates does not count as religious discrimination.
“This Court and many others around the country have consistently found COVID-19 vaccine mandates for state employees are facially neutral and generally applicable, and terminating an employee for failing to comply with a vaccine mandate is a permissible employment action,” Rice wrote in his decision.
Rolovich said his request for a religious exemption as a “devout Catholic” and his appeal were both denied, so he sued the university for $25 million.
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The university said that because the coach waited so long to try and get a religious exemption, it was not able to accommodate him.
There are still three open claims in the lawsuit against WSU, including wage violation, breach of contract, and religious discrimination.