Vaccine mandates are coming back to haunt big companies.
One is ESPN, as two former employees are suing the sports broadcasting giant in federal court for forcing employees to get the jab to stay employed.
Both ESPN alum say the COVID-19 vaccine requirement “violated religious freedom rights” and have also named its parent company, The Walt Disney Company, in the lawsuit, which was filed in U.S. District Court in Connecticut Wednesday.
The two employees taking the issue to court are Allison Williams and producer Beth Faber, reports Deadline.
“Forcing [the] plaintiffs to choose between continuation of their employment and a violation of their religious beliefs in order to retain their livelihoods imposes a substantial burden on plaintiffs’ ability to conduct themselves in accordance with their sincerely held religious beliefs,” attorney Christopher Dunn wrote in the complaint.
Williams says she refused the shot because she and her husband were trying to have a second child at the time, and if ESPN refused to make an accommodation for her situation, the company no longer aligned with her “morally and ethically.”
“This was a deeply difficult decision to make and it’s not something I take lightly,” she said at the time. “I understand vaccines have been essential in the effort to end this pandemic; however, taking the vaccine at this time is not in my best interest.”
Williams is a University of Miami grad who started her career working for Marlins Live with the Miami Dolphins, handling sideline reporting and hosting duties for pre and post-game coverage. From there, she graduated to a gig at ESPN, where she focused on college football and basketball. After leaving ESPN in October 2021 because of the COVID-19 vaccine mandate, she joined The Daily Wire to continue covering sports. While at the Ben Shapiro-founded outlet, she’s also launched a series about wokeness.
“My name is Allison Williams. I was a host and reporter at ESPN, but forced off the sidelines for refusing the COVID vaccine,” she announces in the trailer, which features UFC President Dana White and NBA players Jonathan Isaac and Enes Kanter Freedom. “Now I’m traveling across America, talking to some of the biggest names in sports to hear their thoughts on wokeness being injected into our favorite pastimes.”
ESPN has yet to comment on the lawsuit.
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