EEOC Sues Dynamic Medical Services for Religious Discrimination

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Federal Agency Charges Company Required Employees to  Participate in Scientology Religious Practices, Fired Two for Refusing to Participate

MIAMI  - Dynamic Medical Services, Inc., a Miami company owned by Dr. Dennis Nobbe and  which provides medical and chiropractic services, violated federal law by requiring  employees to attend courses that involved Scientology religious practices, the  U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed  today.

According  to the EEOC's suit, the company required Norma Rodriguez, Maykel Ruz, Rommy Sanchez,  Yanileydis Capote and other employees to spend at least half their work days in  courses that involved Scientology religious practices, such as screaming at ashtrays or staring at someone for eight hours without moving.  The company also instructed employees to  attend courses at the Church of Scientology.   Additionally, the company required Sanchez to undergo an "audit" by  connecting herself to an "E-meter," which Scientologists believe is a  religious artifact, and required her to undergo "purification" treatment at the  Church of Scientology.  According to the  EEOC's suit, employees repeatedly asked not to attend the courses but were told  it was a requirement of the job.  In the  cases of Rodriguez and Sanchez, when they refused to participate in Scientology  religious practices and/or did not conform to Scientology religious beliefs, they  were terminated.

Requiring  employees to conform to religious practices and beliefs espoused by the employer, creating a hostile work environment, and failing to reasonably  accommodate the religious beliefs of an employee all violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court  for the Southern District of Florida after first attempting to reach a  pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.  The lawsuit, EEOC v. Dynamic Medical Services, Inc., (Case No. 1:13-cv-21666), seeks  back pay for Rodriguez and Sanchez, compensatory and punitive damages for all  named claimants and a class of individuals subjected to a hostile work  environment and disparate treatment, and injunctive relief ordering the company  to stop requiring employee participation in courses involving religious  practices, among other types of injunctive relief.

"Employees'  freedom from religious coercion at the workplace must be protected," said  Robert Weisberg, regional attorney for the EEOC's Miami District Office.  "These actions are a shameful violation of  federal law."

The  EEOC's Miami District director, Malcolm Medley, said, "When an employer makes  an employment decision based on employees' failure to adopt the employer's  religious beliefs, it violates federal law.   The EEOC will act vigorously to protect the rights of workers who are  subjected to religious harassment and coercion in the workplace."

The  EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination.  The Miami District Office's jurisdiction  includes Florida, Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands.  Further information about the EEOC is  available on the agency's website at www.eeoc.gov.

 

Topics:  Discrimination, EEOC, Religious Discrimination

Published In: Civil Remedies Updates, Civil Rights Updates, Labor & Employment Updates

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) | Attorney Advertising

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