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Former Washington State football coach files lawsuit after firing due to COVID-19 vaccine mandate: report

Nick Rolovich was fired with cause as head coach of the Washington State Cougars in October 2021 for refusing to get the COVID-19 vaccine. 

On Friday, Rolovich filed a lawsuit against Washington Governor Jay Inslee, the university, and WSU athletic director Pat Chun seeking damages, according to ESPN. 

The complaint “contains eight counts, including breach of contract, discrimination against religion, wrongful withholding of wages and violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act as well as the First and 14th Amendments,” per ESPN. 

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Rolovich, who is Catholic, had his religious exemption denied and was fired by Chun — along with four other coaches on his staff — last October. 

The state of Washington required all state employees to either be vaccinated against COVID-19 or have an approved exception. 

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“Washington State University carried out the Governor’s COVID-19 vaccination proclamation for state employees in a fair and lawful manner, including in its evaluation of employee requests for medical or religious exemptions and accommodations,” Washington State said. 

“For multiple reasons, Mr. Rolovich did not qualify, and the university firmly stands by that decision. Washington State University will vigorously defend itself against Mr. Rolovich’s claims.”

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The suit comes after Rolovich filed a tort claim against the university in August seeking $25 million for wrongful termination, which is a required step in order to file a lawsuit against a state agency. 

Rolovich was head coach of the Cougars for just 11 games before his dismissal, going 5-6 from 2020-21. 

He was working under a five-year contract with three years remaining and was reportedly paid $3.2 million per year. 

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