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Washington State Coach Sues for Illegal Termination

October 21, 2021

Former Washington State University football coach Nick Rolovich, who was fired Monday for refusing to comply with the state’s COVID-19 vaccination mandate, is suing the university for illegal termination, ESPN reported.

Rolovich’s lawyer, Brian Fahling, cited “discriminatory and vindictive behavior” by Washington State athletic director Pat Chun. The university had denied Rolovich’s request for a religious exemption from the vaccine mandate, Fahling said.

“It is a tragic and damning commentary on our culture and more specifically on Chun that Coach Rolovich has been derided, demonized and ultimately fired from his job merely for being devout in his Catholic faith,” Fahling wrote in a statement to ESPN.

Washington State used a blind evaluation process for exemption requests, meaning the panel knew neither the names nor job titles of the requestors, ESPN reported.

Chun called Rolovich’s firing a for-cause separation, noting that he lost his eligibility for employment through “noncompliance.” Washington governor Jay Inslee had set Monday as the deadline for all state employees to be vaccinated. Four assistant coaches who failed to comply with the mandate were also fired.

Rolovich, who earned $3.2 million a year, was the state’s highest-paid employee, The Washington Post reported. He had three years and roughly $9 million remaining on his contract.

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