Former ESPN employees Allison Williams and Beth Faber were fired in 2021 for not complying with ESPN’s COVID vaccine mandate.
Williams offered to wear a mask, test regularly, and work remotely or in-studio — but was still fired.
Faber said her attempt to get a religious exemption was denied.
The 38-year-old says she told an employee relations associate she had not had any vaccinations since “she got a bad reaction to one” at the age of 12, and her 2-year-old daughter was not vaccinated, either.
Despite offering to test regularly and wear a mask, work remotely or in-studio, and claiming she had already had COVID-19 and “had natural immunity,” ESPN denied her exemption request and terminated her contract a week later, according to the suit.
Faber, an ESPN employee of 31 years, claims her religious exemption was denied before she was fired in September 2021.
She alleges a HR representative told her, “maybe God has led you to a new career, when God closes a door, he opens another.”
The two are now suing ESPN.
Two former ESPN employees filed a federal lawsuit against the sports media giant, alleging the company’s COVID-19 vaccine requirement violated religious freedom rights.
ESPN and the sports network’s parent company, The Walt Disney Company, are listed as defendants in a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Connecticut Wednesday by former ESPN reporter Allison Williams and ex-producer Beth Faber, according to Front Office Sports.
“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, according to the outlet.
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