UNC System employee lawsuit over COVID-19 working conditions moves to mediation, may be settled out of court

The lawsuit filed earlier this month by UNC System employees alleging unsafe working conditions in the COVID-19 pandemic may be settled out of court, according to the judge assigned to the case.

“I was informed earlier this evening by attorneys in this case that all parties seek a continuance of tomorrow morning’s scheduled hearing on a temporary restraining order,” Superior Court Judge W. David Lee wrote in a statement late Thursday. “The basis for their request is that, with the Court’s permission, they have agreed upon a mediated settlement conference which can be scheduled for next week.  Their hope is to reach a mutually satisfactory resolution of all issues at this conference.  I have granted their request. Recognizing that this is a high profile case I deem it appropriate to issue this statement for the benefit of the general public and the media.”

Since the suit was filed earlier this month many of the UNC system’s largest schools — including N.C. State University, UNC-Chapel Hill and East Carolina University — have moved all undergraduate instruction online. UNC-Charlotte announced it would begin the Fall semester online next month but would not hold in-person classes until Oct.1. A number of the plaintiffs in the suit are instructors at UNC system schools, including those who have moved most instruction online. At UNC-Chapel Hill, East Carolina University and N.C. State dormitories have been reserved for those with hardships or a need to live on campus.

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UNC System employee lawsuit over COVID-19 working conditions moves to mediation, may be settled out of court