JEHOVAH'S WITNESS
HEALTH CARE WORKERS
COURT CASES
 
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JOBS - DUTIES JW EMPLOYEES REFUSE TO PERFORM

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KELSEY M. NOBACH v. WOODLAND VILLAGE NURSING HOME CENTER was a 2012-14 Mississippi federal court case which is an EXCELLENT LESSON for BOTH Employers and Jehovah's Witness Employees. Kelsey Nobach had been reared as one of Jehovah's Witnesses, but she had been "disfellowshipped" (excommunicated) when she was 16 years old. Despite the fact that Nobach -- by then in her late 40s -- had not officially been a Jehovah's Witness for over 30 years, such fact did not stop her from suing her former employer for "religious discrimination" which allegedly violated her WatchTower beliefs and practices.
 
Kelsey Nobach began working as an "Activities Aide" at Woodland Village Nursing Home in August 2008. Nobach's job duties included reading "non-denominational" devotionals to the residents, reading newspapers to the residents, playing games with residents, and generally keeping the residents entertained. In September 2009, a non-supervisory co-worker -- a CNA -- relayed to Nobach a Catholic resident's request that the Rosary be read to her. Nobach told the CNA that she would NOT do so because it was "against her religion". The CNA did not make comment to Nobach, nor anyone else, because she had done her job by passing the resident's "activities" request along to the "Activities Aide". When noone read the Rosary to the Catholic resident that day, the resident later complained to Woodland's Activities Director, who reported the incident to Woodland's Director of Operations, who directed that both Nobach and her supervisor, who was also on duty at the time of the incident, be "written up". However, after mulling over that incident (and undoubtedly Nobach's employment record), Woodland's Activities Director decided to terminate Nobach. After all, that was Nobach's fifth disciplinary write-up during her 13 months of employment. Nobach's four prior written reprimands were for:  tardiness (February 2009 and July 2009), allegedly taking nail polish from a resident (June 2009), and allegedly making a false accusation against another employee (June 2009).
 
Kelsey Nobach thereafter filed a claim of religious discrimination with the EEOC, which eventually issued a "Right To Sue" letter in June 2011. This lawsuit was not filed until April 2012. USDC Federal Judge HALIL SULEYMAN OZERDEN denied the Employer's request for Summary Judgment in September 2012. At the following USDC trial, Nobach claimed that, although she is not an active Jehovah's Witness, that she was reared as a Jehovah's Witness, and that she still believes that the praying of the rosary is "wrong and improper, and to do so would be against her own personal, sincerely held religious beliefs." The Employer countered that Nobach never communicated such religious objections to Employer, nor requested a religious accommodation, until after her termination. Employer further claimed that IF such an accommodation had been requested, that such would have resulted in "undue hardship" due to the fact that only one Activities Aide is on duty in each building during each shift, plus it would have been an additional hardship to isolate Nobach away from Catholic residents scattered throughout their facilities. A "typical" Mississippi JURY awarded Nobach $69,584.00, which included $55,200.00 for Nobach's emotional distress and mental anguish.

On appeal to the USCA, in August 2014, the USDC decision was REVERSED and remanded for entry of judgment in Woodland's favor. The USCA ruled that nowhere in the court record was there even an iota of evidence that Woodland knew of Nobach's religious beliefs before it discharged her. The USCA held that USDC Federal Judge HALIL SULEYMAN OZERDEN should have granted Woodland's motion for judgment as a matter of law made after return of the jury verdict. In part, the USCA stated:

... we simply cannot find evidence that Nobach ever advised anyone involved in her discharge that praying the Rosary was against her religion. According to the record, neither did Nobach tell the CNA that she was a Jehovah's Witness. Nobach acknowledges that the only time she made any mention of her religious beliefs was when she told the CNA: "I can't do the Rosary with [the resident]. I'm not Catholic, and it's against my religion." Nobach has never even claimed that the CNA told anyone of her reason for refusing to aid the resident. In sum, she has offered no evidence that Woodland came to know of her bona-fide religious beliefs until after she was actually discharged.

Woodland must admit, as it does, that Nobach's failure to perform the Rosary with the resident was the factor that precipitated her discharge. If Nobach had presented any evidence that Woodland knew or reasonably should have known the cause for her refusing this task was her conflicting religious beliefs, the jury would certainly have been entitled to reject Woodland's explanation for Nobach's termination, but no such evidence was ever provided to the jury. We hold, therefore, that a reasonable jury would not have had a legally sufficient evidentiary basis to find that Woodland intentionally discriminated against Nobach because of her religion.

This court case is also an EXCELLENT LESSON for Jehovah's Witness Employees who fail to properly inform their employers of their WatchTower beliefs and practices. JW Employees should notify their employer as soon as possible after they are hired -- a more thoughtful JW wishing to avoid later controversy might do so during the hiring process -- that they are a"Jehovah's Witness", plus the Employer should be informed of all the workplace activities in which the JW Employee refuses to engage. The JW Employee should update that list whenever possible forbidden activities come to the JW Employee's attention. Jehovah's Witnesses should keep in mind that the WatchTower Society teaches them not only to be completely "honest" with everyone, but that Employers even specifically seek out to hire "Jehovah's Witnesses" -- because Jehovah's Witnesses are more honest than other employees, and because Jehovah's Witnesses work harder and are better employees than non-JW employees.

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KELSEY NOBACH v. WOODLAND VILLAGE NURSING HOME CENTER was a 2009-2013 Mississippi state court case which dealt with Kelsey Nobach's eligibility for unemployment compensation benefits -- which the employer contested. In September 2009, Nobach filed for unemployment benefits with MDES. After an investigation, in October 2009, MDES denied Nobach's claim due to her receiving 5 write-ups in one year. Nobach appealed (late) the MDES's decision, and an ALJ not only waived the late appeal, but also overturned the MDES's decision, in March 2010. Thereafter, the Employer appealed adverse decisions made by the Board of Review and the local Circuit Court.

In October 2013, the Court of Appeals of Mississippi ruled in Nobach's favor, stating in part: "Nobach's refusal to recite the Rosary was a single isolated event that does not amount to insubordination under Mississippi law." This state court did not address any constitutional issues relating to freedom of religion. This Court noted that although Kelsey Nobach had received five write-ups in one year, the fifth and last write-up was unrelated to the previous four write-ups, thus did "not amount to insubordination under Mississippi law."

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SHARON L. SHEPHERD v. GANNONDALE is an ongoing January 2014 Pennsylvania court case. Gannondale is a Catholic ministry of the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity, which provides holistic and therapeutic residential care for young women placed by the court. Sharon Shepherd was hired as a bookkeeper in October 2011. At the time of her firing in June 2013, Shepherd held the post of Bookkeeping Supervisor.

Sharon Shepherd, age 57, of Erie, Pennsylvania, alleges that several months after she began working at Gannondale that the organization started requiring her to attend community meetings four days a week. At those meetings, Shepherd and other staffers were required to state a "daily goal that was related to a 'commitment' to the 'sanctuary model,'" including a commitment to "growth and change". As a Jehovah's Witness, Shepherd claims that she believes in "predetermination", not "growth and change", and that requiring her to attend those meetings and participate in such violated her religious beliefs.

Shepherd alleges that she first told a Human Resources manager in November 2012 that the community meetings interfered with her religious beliefs. Shepherd alleges that the HR manager initially told her that she did not have to attend the meetings, but in May 2013, her supervisor then told Shepherd she would be fired if she did not attend the meetings. Shepherd claims the HR manager and her supervisor later asked for proof of how the sanctuary model violated her religious beliefs. Shepherd claims she gave them a one-page document explaining the contradiction between "growth and change" and her religious beliefs, but she was fired on June 13, 2013.

We are assuming that Shepherd filed a complaint with the EEOC, which thereafter decided not to prosecute her claim, but did issue a right-to-sue letter. Shepherd filed her own federal lawsuit against Gannondale in January 2014. Shepherd is asking the court to declare that Gannondale illegally discriminated against her on the basis of her religion. She wants reinstatement to her job, reimbursement for lost wages and benefits, plus damages -- including punitive damages sufficient to punish Gannondale's "illegal conduct", and to deter others from engaging in similar conduct.

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E.E.O.C. v. DYNAMIC MEDICAL SERVICES is an ongoing 2011-13 Florida federal court case. Dynamic Medical Services, Inc. is a Miami, Florida area based, multi-location provider of chiropractic and other medical services, which obtains much of its clientele through the use of "salespersons". DMS's owners and most managers are all members of the Church of Scientology. DMS requires all of its employees to regularly attend training sessions which include Scientology based beliefs and practices.

A Jehovah's Witness female, named Norma Rodriguez, was employed as a Salesperson from April 2008 until March 2010. Rodriguez attended DMS's Scientology-based training classes from June 2008 through March 2010, at which time Rodriguez was allegedly instructed that she was to attend further training classes during work hours which would be conducted at the local Church of Scientology. Rodriguez refused to attend those classes conducted at the local Church of Scientology because she is a Jehovah's Witness. Rodriguez was fired about a week later.

From 2010-2011, EEOC received four formal complaints from Norma Rodriguez and three other former employees of DMS. After failing through its administrative procedures to get DMS to change its employment practices, this lawsuit was filed in May 2013. The lawsuit alleges that both former and current DMS were/are subjected to disparate treatment based on religion when: DMS coerced them to adopt Scientology religious views and practices as a condition of continued employment; plus subjected them to a hostile work environment based on religion by DMS’s unwelcome imposition upon them of Scientology religious views and practices. DMS also terminated Rodriguez and one other former employee in retaliation for opposing DMS’s unlawful practices. Further, DMS failed to accommodate the religious beliefs of Rodriguez.

UPDATE: In December 2013, Norma Rodriguez and her three co-workers settled with DMS for $170,000.00 (media article did not disclose how that amount was split between the four parties).

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E.E.O.C. v. NATIVE ANGELS HOME CARE was a 2005-07 North Carolina federal court case. Spring 2007 was a very hectic time for Native Angels Home Care and Hospice Agency, of Lumberton, North Carolina. In March 2007, its owners were named 2007 North Carolina Small Business Persons of the Year, and in April 2007, they received the 2007 National Small Business Persons of the Year award from the federal government's Small Business Administration.

Also, in March 2007, the company agreed to settle a federal lawsuit filed by the EEOC on behalf of a former employee, named Dorene Sampson. Dorene Sampson was a Registered Nurse employed by the Agency from January 2005 until she was fired around March 2005. Sampson, who was a convert to the Jehovah's Witnesses, had refused to participate in what Sampson described as a "mandatory prayer circle" conducted with employees. The Agency agreed to pay $25,000.00 to settle the case.

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In a 2000s Biographical webpage posted by a handicapped person, who had been paralyzed in an accident when he was a teenager, this person makes mention of many "trials" that he has had to endure over the years. One "trial" that this person highlighted was with regard to a Home Health Nurse assigned to him, who was a Jehovah's Witness. The first question that comes to mind is how did this "patient" know that one of his Home Health Nurses was a Jehovah's Witness, unless that JW Employee was doing or saying something in the patient's home to reveal that fact. The patient goes on to relate that the JW Nurse complained to their employer about several of the patient's personal living habits, including that he viewed R-rated movies on cable television, and the JW Nurse complained that the patient refused to sleep in pajamas, which the patient explained was due to his always present problem with developing bedsores.

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WILSON v. PETERBOROUGH CIVIC HOSPITAL was a 1982 Canadian religious discrimination case. Wilson, a Registered Nurse, started working at the Peterborough Civic Hospital in 1973. From 1976 to 1981, she worked in ICU, where one of her duties was hanging blood for blood transfusions. In 1977, Wilson converted to the Jehovah's Witnesses. By 1980, she had come to the conclusion that hanging blood was an "unclean act" that was strictly prohibited by God. From 1980 to the middle of 1981, Wilson refused to hang blood, and always asked other nurses to fulfill this duty for her. However, two of her colleagues eventually refused to accommodate her, and although she was eventually able to find a nurse willing to do this task, she was obliged to disclose the incident to her supervisor. When Wilson stated that she would continue to refuse to hang blood, the hospital fired her. An arbitrator ruled that the hospital had discriminated against Wilson, and that it had failed in its duty to "accommodate" her religious beliefs. To accommodate Wilson, the hospital should have placed her in a ward other than the emergency and intensive care units, and provided her with documentation alerting her co-workers that she has been relieved of the duty to hang blood. Since the hospital did nothing to accommodate Wilson, its requirement that all nurses hang blood was not a bona fide occupational requirement, and the discrimination against Wilson was illegal under Canadian Human Rights Law.

 
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PROSELYTIZING OF CLIENTS, PATIENTS, & COWORKERS COURT CASES
 
 
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KARL DE VRIES v. MACCABI HEALTH FUND was a 2001-02 Israeli court case. In September 2001, an 18 year veteran with the Maccabi HMO, esteemed Haifa gynecologist, Dr. Karl De Vries, had his employment contract terminated on the grounds that he had continued to proselytize HMO patients despite repeated warnings and despite Karl De Vries repeated promises that he would stop discussing his WatchTower Cult beliefs with HMO patients, and stop giving WatchTower literature to HMO patients.

Dr. Karl De Vries had converted to the Jehovah's Witnesses religion in 1997. By September 1999, the Maccabi HMO had received sufficient complaints of proselytizing that Maccabi's medical director was forced to meet with De Vries over the alleged doctor-patient improprieties. Dr. De Vries allegedly admitted that he had "occasionally" discussed WatchTower Cult beliefs and practices with HMO patients, and had "occasionally" gave WatchTower literature to HMO patients. De Vries allegedly promised to refrain from doing so in the future. De Vries cotract was terminated two years later after the HMO continued to receive repeated complaints from both HMO patients and ultra-Orthodox Jewish advocacy groups to whom HMO patients had complained.

Dr. Karl De Vries thereafter filed this lawsuit in which he complained that Maccabi Health Fund's termination of his contract for discussing his WatchTower Cult beliefs and practices with HMO patients, and giving those HMO patients WatchTower literature, had violated HIS freedom of religion and HIS freedom of speech. Outcome unknown.


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COMPLAINT ABOUT JW HOME HEALTH CARE WORKER POSTED IN 2012 ON A LEGAL HELP DISCUSSION BOARD (Edited):
 
I never thought [in] a million years a "religious" organization would have the gall to harass me and I need this to stop. Let me give you a bit of a background about me. I'm very disabled following an industrial accident and require a home health nurse and caregivers.
 
In June of last year, one of my first caregivers was a Jehovah's Witness and let me know this about 3 minutes after she arrived at my house. No sooner did she arrive at my home, (I mean less than 3 mins) a group of Jehovah's Witness knock on my door. She answered  my door and said, "It's Jehovah's Witness and I'm one of them - wait here (gave a stop signal with her right hand) and stepped outside to talk to them for about 10 minutes.
 
That was the beginning of all of this. The HHA agency says that there would be no way their employee would have given my personal information out to this people but I'm not to sure I believe this. Anyway, after that day, I've been getting knocks on my door, pampletts left on my door and car as well as two bizzare phone calls AND a confortation looking like it was targeting me in front of a business.
 
The phone calls. About 8pm I received a phone call from a girl who used my actual name (denied it later) and said she wanted to pray for me. I was dumbfounded and told her to never call my house again. The next day I wanted to find out how she got my UNLISTED number. She said she went to the local library and got it through  their records. I said I didn't believe her and told her if she ever called my house again I would call the police. No sooner did I hang up, her "supervisor" called me at my home and told me that they (Jehovah's Witnesses helpers) use "reverse lookup" (exact words) and get this, that her helper was disabled and I got her upset by threatening to call the police. I was fuming mad at that point and said I'm VERY disabled and didn't give a crap about their helper and to stop calling me. It was clear this "supervisor" was trying to make her and her church the "victims" here. It was a very disturbing, twisted and sick conversation. I was completely shocked to say the least and hung up.
 
What do you know.. This morning they come by AGAIN but this time I was sleeping. My elderly mom answered the door and apparently this time they had a child with them. Sick isn't it? I then went to my neighbors house and asked if they knocked on her door and she replied no and that they looked like they were specifically looking for my place. 

I live in an private community with no soliciting but apparently Jehovah's Witnesses don't seem to abide by the law?

Anyway, I hate to sound like a whiner but at this point I feel so very violated. We all have the right to freedom of religion and I respect everyone's religious believes wholeheartedly but when there is a blatant attempt to shove a religion down my throat at my own home and without me asking for any of this, I feel as though MY rights to my own religion beliefs have been totally violated. 

How can I make this stop? This is hurting my health and my family. Please someone advise as soon as possible.
 
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DOROTHY L. EDWARDS v. CREOKS MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES was a 2007 Oklahoma federal court decision In August 2005, a Jehovah's Witness, named Dorothy L. Edwards filed a federal lawsuit against her former employer, Creoks Mental Health Services, Inc. Dorothy Edwards alleged that CMHS discriminated against her on the basis of her WatchTower religion, and disability, in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Americans with Disabilities Act. Edwards also alleged that CMHS fostered a hostile work environment and retaliated against her after she filed for unemployment benefits. In addition to her federal claims, Edwards also alleged that CMHS was liable for defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and breach of contract.
 
CMHS is a non-profit corporation that provides mental health services to low-income individuals throughout Northeastern Oklahoma. In April 2004, Edwards entered into a contract with Creoks entitled, "Subcontractor Agreement", which stated thatEdwards would provide individual rehabilitation or case management services as an "independent contractor".  Edwards had an advanced degree and had performed some prior work in rehabilitation services. The dates and time of services were to be determined based on client need. The "Subcontractor Agreement" further stated that the "services will be delivered and documented in conformance with Creoks policies, procedures, and protocols." Edwards also signed a document entitled"Verification of Creoks Personnel Policies". CMHS also had in place a dispute resolution/grievance procedure. According to this policy, if an employee had a grievance, including alleged discrimination based on religion or disability, the employee should present a written request for formal review by the employee’s supervisor. Edwards never filed a written complaint pursuant to this policy.
 
Edwards performed individual rehabilitation services at CMHS's clients’ homes. Edwards wrote her own treatment plans and had control over the methods used to provide the services. She submitted her treatment plans to the CEO for approval. While she was supposed to seek such approval only in the beginning of her employment to "get the swing of things", Edwards claimed that she continued seeking his approval beyond the first few weeks with CMHS. CMHS provided Edwards with paperwork and supplies, but she conducted her treatment work at clients’ homes, and completed paperwork at her own home.
 
Edwards did not disclose to CMHS that she suffers from a "generalized anxiety disorder". According to Edwards,"There was no need to [tell management about my disability]. I needed no accommodations. I – I have – I can do my job, and I can do it well. I have problems within myself, and I have problems when I’m being pressured or whatever." Edwards did disclosed such to another CMHS employee, named Audrey Milton. According to Edwards, Milton then supposedly told other undisclosed CMHS employees that Edwards could not perform her job responsibilities because of her anxiety disorder. Milton supposedly also asked Edwards if she was schizophrenic, and supposedly told Edwards that she thought Edwards had a learning disability.
 
Edwards also claimed that an "undisclosed person", who Edwards refers to as her "slanderer", called CMHS and made negative comments about her. Edwards does not have any evidence that anyone made such a call; however, she "believes within my heart and soul some – the information got to [Creoks’ employees] some kind of way".  According to Edwards, the other Creoks’ employees turned against her after they heard these allegedly slanderous comments. She argues that, due to the comments by this "slanderer", other CMHS employees stopped assigning clients to Edwards. Edwards later testified, "[The LPCs] didn’t choose for me to work with them anymore after hearing all the gossip and the slander that was called in by my slanderers to Creoks."  Prior to her termination, Edwards filed a complaint to the licensure board on the ground that the LPCs decision to take her off of their treatment plans was "unprofessional".
 
Edwards complained that some of her co-employees made disparaging comments about her. Edwards also claimed that "a big issue was made over the fact that I was a Jehovah’s Witness."  Milton supposedly told Edwards that she was shocked that Edwards was a Jehovah’s Witness. Edwards later testified, "I feel it was discriminative [sic] when they even talked about [my religion] negatively".
 
CMHS claimed that Edwards struggled to perform her duties in accordance with CMHS policies and procedures. In particular, CMHS claimed that Edwards impermissibly taught religion to her clients. Edwards had one client who "was terrified of going to hell, because of the religious teachings she had". Edwards met with CMHS's client and supposedly wrote a treatment plan which involved the client learning what the Bible had to say about "hellfire". Edwards responded that teaching the client how to go to the Bible and form her own opinions about what was true and what was false about "hellfire" did not constitute religious "witnessing".  In addition to holding a "Bible study" with CMHS's client, Edwards also took the client with her to meetings at the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses. Edwards claimed that, at the time, she did not know it was improper to take a client to a religious meeting.
 
In November 2004, CMHS's CEO met with Edwards to discuss her alleged infractions of policies and procedures. A written memorandum was given Edwards which set forth specific directives that Edwards was to follow without exception:

(1) You are never to initiate or discuss issues relating to religion with clients.
(2) You are never to transport a client anywhere for any reason, no exception.
(3) You are only to do services of individual rehab with Medicaid clients.
(4) You are not to do any case management services at all – indefinitely.
(5) No other services but individual rehab Medicaid will be paid to you.
(6) You are not to do any services at the Sapulpa office at all.
(7) You are not to have any contact with [CLIENT] at all.
(8) You are to turn in Medicaid goals/objectives for individual rehab to clinical coordinator for approval before providing any services. Not doing so will prevent you from being paid until they have been approved.
(9) All Medicaid clients that you see must already have a mental health assessment and treatment plan done by a therapist first.
(10) You are never allowed to remove a chart from the office.
(11) You may look through open Medicaid charts to find clients who need individual rehab to build up your client load.
 
In February 2005, Edwards filed a claim for "unemployment compensation", because after some LPCs had taken her off of their treatment plans, she had only three or four clients. On March 14, 2005, CMHS terminated its "Subcontractor Agreement" with Edwards. Edwards was told that she was terminated because "she violated Creoks policies; had too many issues with her co-workers; and caused Creoks to lose money"
 
Thereafter, Edwards filed a claim for unpaid wages with the Oklahoma Department of Labor, which was ultimately settled (outcome unknown). Edwards' claim for "unemployment compensation" was also approved under Oklahoma UC law.
 
Edwards also filed a employment discrimination claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, in which Edwards alleged, " ... I have been discriminated against because of my religion  ... . I also believe I have been discriminated against because of my Disability, ... . I further believe that I have been retaliated against for having filed an unemployment claim with the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission".  EEOC dismissed Edwards' claims, but Edwards still filed this federal lawsuit.
 
The USDC ruled that CMHS was entitled to summary judgment on all of Edward’s claims, stating in part:
"Defendant terminated plaintiff because of her inability to follow Creoks’ policies, her conflicts with co-employees, and because she was causing Creoks to lose money. None of these proffered reasons are related to plaintiff’s religion. Plaintiff submitted no evidence from which a reasonable person could infer that defendant’s legitimate, non-discriminatory reasons for terminating plaintiff were mere pretext for unlawful discrimination. Plaintiff’s primary evidence of religious discrimination is that her co-employee, Milton, said that she was 'shocked' that plaintiff was a Jehovah’s Witness. This isolated comment about plaintiff’s religion does not raise an inference of religious discrimination. On the contrary, Milton’s statement occurred in a private phone conversation between plaintiff and Milton outside of work hours. ... Given this context, a reasonable trier of fact could not interpret Milton’s comment to raise an inference of religious discrimination on the part of defendant.
 
"Further, the fact that plaintiff was reprimanded for teaching religion to clients does not create a genuine issue of material fact as to the alleged religious discrimination. Plaintiff agrees that it was inappropriate to teach religion to clients; she merely maintains that her teaching a client how to read and study the Bible did not constitute religious "witnessing". This disagreement about what constitutes impermissible religious teaching is not relevant to the religious discrimination inquiry. Plaintiff cannot point to any other evidence of religious discrimination. ... plaintiff’s allegation of religious discrimination rests on her own conclusory statements, which are unsupported by facts in the summary judgment record. Mere conjecture and subjective beliefs about an employer’s motive do not create a genuine issue of material fact. ... ... ...
 
"... plaintiff’s alleged disability is a generalized anxiety disorder. Plaintiff does not provide any evidence that this impairment substantially limits any major life activity On the contrary, she maintains that she was capable of performing her work adequately, but had problems dealing with pressure. While plaintiff cannot manage high levels of stress, she has not shown that she is 'significantly restricted' in performing a major life activity ... ... ...
 
"With respect to the statement made by Milton, the Court also finds that there is no genuine issue of material fact concerning the alleged defamation. Even assuming arguendo that Milton’s statements that plaintiff had a learning disability or was schizophrenic were false and defamatory in nature, there is no evidence that these statements were published. To the extent that Milton made such statements to other Creoks employees, such communication is not evidence of publication.'Communication inside a corporation, between its officers, employees, and agents, is never publication for the purposes of actions for defamation'. ... ."
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ARCHIE STROUD v. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS was a 1993-1999 federal employee EEOC decision which involved an African-American Jehovah's Witness named Archie Stroud. Stroud was employed as a Laboratory Worker at the agency's West Los Angeles Medical Center. Archie Stroud filed a complaint alleging racial discrimination, religious discrimination, and discrimination on the basis of physical disability after Stroud's caucasian Supervisor prohibited Stroud from displaying WatchTower literature in the work area; prohibited Stroud from reading WatchTower literature in the work area during duty hours; prohibited Stroud from discussing his WatchTower religion during duty hours;denied Stroud early leave and leaves of absence; etc. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Administrative Judge found no evidence of discrimination, and such findings were adopted by the agency. On appeal, the EEOC affirmed.

The agency has a policy which prohibits displaying and reading religious materials at the workplace during working hours.  The record indicates that appellant read his religious material during working hours. Several witnesses testified that appellant frequently read religious materials and discussed his religious beliefs with his co-workers during working hours.  In addition, despite the agency's policy which prohibited the use of the telephone for personal business other than emergencies, several witnesses testified that appellant used the agency's telephone, on a daily basis, for religious purposes. ...

... Despite being denied leave, appellant did not report to work from February 15, 1996 through March 15, 1996. Accordingly, an AWOL was issued for those days.  Several witnesses testified that appellant generally failed to comply with procedures for leave requests and usually gave no advanced notice.

 

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RACIAL - RELIGIOUS DISCRIMINATION LAWSUITS & COMPLAINTS

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ROBERT B. THORP v. HOME HEALTH AGENCY ARIZONA ET AL is an ongoing 2012-14 Arizona federal civil court case. A Jehovah's Witness named Robert Thorp was employed by Team Select Home Care as a Clinical Supervisor for only 65 days -- from September 27, 2010 through December 31, 2010. Bob Thorp alleges that he was routinely subjected to outrageous religious discrimination and sexual harassment. Thorp's lawsuit includes claims for: (I) Title VII discrimination and harassment; (II) retaliation; (III) intentional infliction of emotional distress; (IV) negligent hiring, retention, or supervision; and (V) breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing. In March 2013, the USDC dismissed the two claims for negligent hiring, retention, or supervision, and breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing. Outcome pending on remaining claims.

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DORIS D. CRAWFORD v. LUTHERAN MEDICAL CENTER was a 2008-11 New York court case. In 2008, Doris Crawford, an African-American Jehovah's Witness, who allegedly was already employed by LMC, was hired as an Administrative Assistant in LMC's Executive Offices, in February 2008. Crawford was terminated after only five weeks at that position. Crawford thereafter filed a pro se lawsuit against LMC alleging racial discrimination and retaliation.
 
The USDC had some difficulty extracting Crawford's multiple allegation from her pro se complaint, but, in March 2011, summarily dismissed all but the "retaliation" portion of her case, stating, "Plaintiff has failed to allege a plausible claim to relief on her disparate treatment and hostile work environment claims. Moreover, the factual contentions underlying those claims are clearly baseless."
 
What are the adjudged "clearly baseless factual contentions?" Doris Crawford apparently believed that two fellow Jehovah's Witesseses -- a Rodney Jones, and a female named Dwani Bush -- started conspiring against her along with Crawford's co-workers at LMC, even though Jones and Bush did not work at LMC, and were not known to Crawford's co-workers. Crawford alleged that the conspiracy was trying to stop her from marrying her "alleged fiance" -- apparently another Jehovah's Witness, named Kevin Bush, who was Dwani Bush's ex-husband -- because Dwani Bush was Hispanic, and Crawford's LMC co-workers liked Hispanics, but did not like African-Americans. The only contact that African-American Kevin Bush had with LMC was a telephone call that he made to LMC complaining of receiving harassing telephone calls from Crawford, while she was at work at LMC. The USDC remarked, "Plaintiff's own Complaint contains troubling indications that her allegations as to the existence of a conspiracy against her are Plaintiff's own delusional beliefs with no basis in fact or reality."
 
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LINDA ALDRIDGE-JOHNSON v. WESTCHESTER COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF HEATH was a 2007-08 New York case. Limited details. Linda Aldridge-Johnson was employed by the Westchester County Department of Health as a Registration Clerk for only 8 months -- from March 2007 until November 2007 -- when she was terminated for unknown reasons. LAJ was a Pentecostal, and she claimed that almost from the start of her employment that she had problems with a Jehovah's Witness Co-Worker -- who was possibly a Manager. The obvious question that should be asked in every employment discrimination case is how did LAJ learn that that supervisor was a Jehovah's Witness, and how did the JW Co-Worker learn that LAJ was a Pentecostal? LAJ filed a "disparate treatment" complaint, and apparently was fired shortly thereafter, so LAJ tacked on a retaliation claim. The State Division of Human ruled that LAJ had no evidence that she was mistreated because of her religious beliefs, nor that her firing was retaliation for having filed the "disparate treatment" complaint.
 
 
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PEGGY M. PLEDGER-WILLIAMS v. MAYVIEW CONVALESCENT HOME was a 2007-09 North Carolina federal court case which involved an African-American Jehovah's Witness Registered Nurse named Peggy Pledger, age 66 as of 2013. Pledger was hired on a part-time basis at this skilled nursing facility in Raleigh, North Carolina, in 1997. In May 2005, Pledger filed a charge with the EEOC alleging race and religion discrimination. Dismissed in August 2005. In June 2006, Pledger filed a second charge with the EEOC alleging that she had been unlawfully discriminated against on the basis of her race, age, sex and religion and that she had been the victim of discriminatory retaliation. The charge alleged discrimination occurring August 12, 1997 until June 29, 2006. Dismissed March 2007.

In June 2007, Pledger filed this lawsuit, which alleged that (1) she has been discriminated against on the basis of her race, age and religion, and that she has been subjected to disparate treatment in the terms and conditions of her employment, (2) she has been retaliated against by her employer, and (3) she has been subjected to negligent and intentional infliction of emotional distress. In May 2008, Pledger withdrew her claims of negligent and intentional infliction of emotional distress under NC law.

In April 2009, the USDC granted Mayview's motion for summary judgment, and all of Pledger's claims were dismissed. In 2010, the USCA affirmed. The USDC opinion noted, in part:

Beginning in approximately 2000 and occurring through 2007, Mayview received several complaints of Pledger's alleged rude and oftentimes threatening behavior toward staff, visitors and residents at the facility. Employees have complained that Pledger has berated other employees and has refused to assist her co-workers. Family members of residents have reported that Pledger ignored their inquiries regarding her care of residents and that she disregarded physician orders relating to the dispensing of medication to residents. Residents have complained to their family members that Pledger frightens them by her rude demeanor. On at least three occasions, Tomlinson has had to speak directly to family members because of issues related to Pledger's performance. Barlow has had to respond to complaints by residents as well. Tomlinson, Barlow and Haynes have each met with Pledger and asked her to improve the manner in which she interacts with co-workers, visitors and residents. In order to reduce the amount of time she spent interacting with family members Pledger was moved from Station Three to Station Four. Pledger does not dispute receiving these complaints, but insists that other nurses also must have received complaints, although she does not know the number of complaints against other nurses. According to Mayview, Pledger has received significantly more complaints than any other nurse. ... ... ...

... Pledger ... has failed to proffer evidence from which a jury could conclude that Mayview's reason for not promoting her was pretext. Supervisory staff are charged with being able to resolve complaints among the staff, family members and facility residents, and therefore must be able to get along with staff, residents and family members. According to Mayview, considering Pledger's demonstrated inability to get along with staff, residents and family members and her history of altercations with staff, Pledger does not possess these skills for a supervisor position. Pledger admits to her history of demonstrated acrimony with her co-workers and residents and their family members, and agrees that getting along with staff, and residents is an important component of the supervisory position. ... Yet, she contends that this is an insufficient reason to deny her this position. Rather, she contends that Mayview's philosophy, the source of which she does not identify, is that all employees should be allowed to advance, then, only after having promoted the employee, should the employer determine if the employee is in fact qualified for the position — in her case Mayview should have promoted her then wait and see if she continued her behavior.Pledger's reasoning does not cast doubt on the validity of Mayview's explanation for her rejection. Not only does Pledger's rationale make scant sense, but the constraints she would have the court place on employers is not required by Title VII. ... ... ...

... Pledger suggests that Mayview discriminated against her on the basis of her religion by failing to accommodate her request that she not be scheduled for work Tuesdays so that she may attend religious services. ... Pledger concedes that her request not to be scheduled to work Tuesdays for religious reasons was in fact accommodated by Mayview. ... Pledger asserts instead that Mayview's accommodation of her religious observation came "with a price" and that as a result she was denied opportunities of promotion within Mayview. ...

 
PLEDGER v. MAYVIEW CONVALESCENT HOME. In February, 2012, Peggy Pledger filed yet another federal lawsuit against MAYVIEW CONVALESCENT HOME after she was terminated in latter 2011 after an unpleasant encounter with a Caucasian patient and the patient's family. This 2012 complaint alleged racial and age discrimination, as well as retaliation for filing her previous lawsuit, disparate treatment, PLUS claims for negligent infliction of emotional distress and intentional infliction of emotional distress . EEOC issued a right-to-sue letter in May 2012. This 2012 lawsuit seeks money damages for pecuniary losses, emotional pain, mental anguish, punitive damages, and attorney's fees.
 
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PEGGY M. PLEDGER v. UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE was a 1987-91 North Carolina federal lawsuit filed after Peggy Pledger was terminated from USPS in 1987. Pledger alleged sex, racial, and religious discrimination. After a court trial, the USDC ruled in favor of USPS. Affirmed by USCA.
 
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PEGGY M. PLEDGER v. DOROTHEA DIX HOSPITAL was a 1997-99 North Carolina court case. Peggy Pledger was employed by Hospital for only three years -- from February 1993 until February 1996. Pledger filed two charges of racial discrimination against the Hospital with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, in November 1994 and August 1995. The EEOC deferred the charges to the North Carolina Office of Administrative Hearings, which issued a Notice of Determination as to both charges in March 1997. EEOC adopted that state agency's determination and issued a Dismissal and a "right-to-sue" letter. Pledger also filed additional charges with OAH against Hospital which alleged racial discrimination and retaliation in employment issues which were separate and distinct from those issues raised in the EEOC charges. In June 1998, the USDC summarily dismissed all of Pledger's charges. Affirmed by USCA.
 
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ROBERTO DEBONO ET AL v. MEDFORD VOLUNTEER AMBULANCE SERVICE is an ongoing 2007 Long Island, New York court case which involves a female Jehovah's Witness EMS worker named Roberto DeBono. DeBono has joined with two male "volunteers" who also formerly worked at the ambulance service, one a homosexual and the other an African-American, in filing a $60,000,000.00 lawsuit, which alleges that the three former "volunteers" were subjected to religious, sexual, and racial harassment and discrimination. Roberto DeBono claims that the chief and other former fellow EMS workers objected to her WatchTower religion, and that they schemed to have her ousted from the service.

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LEONARD B. HILT v. DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS was a 2007 Tennessee federal court decision. In 2004, Dr. Leonard B. Hilt, an African-American Jehovah's Witness Doctor, filed an employment discrimination lawsuit against the Department of Veterans Affairs. Leonard Hilt was employed as a podiatrist at the VA's Tennessee Valley Healthcare System in Nashville, Tennessee, from December 1991 until his voluntary retirement in March 2006. Dr. Hilt's lawsuit contained three counts. Count I was brought under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and alleged unlawful discrimination on the basis of his disability, identified in his complaint to be leukemia. Count II alleged discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, in the form of unlawful retaliation on the basis of Hilt's participation in EEO activities and/or his opposition to his supervisor's discriminatory practices. Count III alleged further discriminatory conduct in the form of a hostile work environment.

Leonard Hilt initially enjoyed a pleasant working relationship with the staff and his fellow physicians. However, both his working relationships and his personal health deteriorated over the course of his 14+ years employment. Hilt's problems apparently started sometime around 1997-8. In January 1999, Hilt's supervisor, Dr. Rudolph Cumberbatch, wrote a memo to the Chief of Staff at the VA Hospital expressing concerns about Hilt's mental and physical health, as well as his alleged "inappropriate behavior". In the memo, Cumberbatch requested that an evaluation of Hilt be conducted to determine his fitness for duty. Also, in January 1999, Hilt received his first proficiency rating from Dr. Cumberbatch, covering the period of November 1997 through November 1998, containing ratings of "low satisfactory" in two out of five categories and negative comments.

In May/June 1999, Hilt attended a meeting with Cumberbatch, a Dr Burns, also a VA podiatrist, and Ruth Vickens, the Administrative Officer, during which Hilt and Dr. Burns exchanged words. Hilt and Dr. Burns were at one time friends and roommates, though their relationship deteriorated after Dr. Burns came to work at the VA Hospital. Hilt later testified that  Dr. Burns asked several confrontational questions that made Hilt angry, which led Hilt to call Dr. Burns a "snake". Burns replied that Hilt ought to know a "snake", being a Jehovah's Witness. Cumberbatch then said, "Dr. Hilt, I didn't know you were a Christian."  In June 1999, as a result of that exchange, Hilt contacted his Union representative. Hilt also filed an Equal Employment Opportunity complaint of religious discrimination. The complaint was dismissed at the administrative level in August 1999.

In December 1999, Hilt received his second proficiency rating conducted by Dr. Cumberbatch, covering the period from November 12, 1998, to September 3, 1999. In this review, Dr. Cumberbatch reported that Hilt was performing at the level of "low satisfactory" in even more categories than the previous year, and gave him a "low" rating in four out of five areas. In November 1999, Hilt went on medical leave and had three surgeries on the same foot due to osteomyelitis. Hilt returned from medical leave in August 2000. It is unclear whether Hilt voluntarily withdrew himself from surgical duties to allow himself to further heal, or whether Cumberbatch had restricted Hilt's from surgery in May 2000. In late August 2000, Hilt's also had his left big toe amputated. In May 2000, while Hilt still was on medical leave, Cumberbatch amended the second proficiency rating to state that Hilt's "current health problems may have impacted [Hilt's] ability to perform in an operating room setting". In July 2000, Hilt lodged an administrative complaint alleging retaliation  in the form of low ratings on the second proficiency report, because of his June 1999 EEO complaint.

In October 2003, due to increasingly frequent absences for medical appointments associated with his health problems, Hilt was required to submit dates and times for all of his personal medical appointments for a three month period. Hilt additionally alleged that his supervisor sent three emails to an individual who was not his supervisor containing information about the plaintiff's medical treatment. Hilt further alleged that he was required to consult with a newly licensed podiatrist before making referrals as a form of punishing him, even though he admits that this policy applied to everyone and not just specifically to him.

In March 2004, Hilt filed another EEO complaint alleging reprisal for prior EEO activity, because his Section Chief required him to submit the times and dates of his personal medical appointments for a three month period, and because his Section Chief sent three emails to a non-supervisor about his personal medical appointments, and because his Section Chief stated that he "was watching" Hilt, and because he was required to consult with an inexperienced, newly licensed podiatrist before making referrals to vascular service.

Sometime thereafter, Hilt filed this federal lawsuit, which was based on the charges presented in the two administrative complaints of discrimination made in July 2000 and March 2004. Hilt withdrew his claims based on the March 2004 events after the defendants filed their answer. Since the June 1999 complaint of religious discrimination was dismissed at the administrative level, it was at issue only insofar as it related to the alleged retaliation. As for Hilt's remaining claims based on the July 2000 administrative complaint, the USDC granted the VA's motion for summary judgment, stating in part:

"In the present case, although the plaintiff disputes the basis for the lowered evaluation scores, he fails to show that the scores had any effect whatsoever beyond bruising his ego. With respect to the alleged suspension of his surgical privileges, the plaintiff was on medical leave at the time of the allegedly retaliatory action, he lost no pay or prestige, and he voluntarily removed himself from surgical service upon his return due to health concerns. ... ... ...
 
"... Here, the plaintiff received his first lowered performance evaluation score before he filed a charge of discrimination. The plaintiff's first lowered evaluation covered the period from November 12, 1997, to November 12, 1998, and the plaintiff received this report in January 1999, well before he filed his June 1999 EEO complaint, and indeed, well before the incident giving rise to the complaint of discrimination (the June 1999 meeting) had even occurred.
 
"... The plaintiff's scores were on the decline six months prior to his complaint of discrimination. The fact that they continued to worsen following his charge of discrimination is not as clearly attributable to employer retaliation ... ...  the facts in this case show a preexisting slide in scores that began well before the charge of discrimination was made. Thus, in this case, lowered performance evaluation scores simply do not rise to the level of an adverse employment action.
 
"The plaintiff also claims that he was retaliated against because of an addendum to the 1998-1999 performance evaluation expressing concerns about his fitness for surgery. Specifically, the plaintiff alleges that Dr. Cumberbatch used concerns about the plaintiff's personal health as a pretext to justify revocation of his surgical privileges. Even taking all of the facts in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, there is simply no support for this claim in the record.
 
"The plaintiff admitted that he was on an extended period of sick leave during the time relevant to this portion of his claim, from about November 2, 1999, through August 13, 2000, due to health problems, including multiple surgeries on his foot and the amputation of his left great toe. ... The plaintiff stated in his December 2000 EEO interview that he performed his last surgery in 1999, prior to going on his extended sick leave. He further confirmed that he had voluntarily performed no surgeries in the year 2000 since returning from sick leave. ... The plaintiff stated that the reason he had not performed any surgeries was because he was recovering from his own surgeries and because he had promised Dr. Jones, the Chief of Staff, that he 'would not go into the [operating room] until the foot [was] completely closed and healed'.
 
"The alleged revocation of the plaintiff's surgical privileges occurred in May 2000 when Dr. Cumberbatch amended the plaintiff's 1998-1999 proficiency report to include his concerns about the plaintiff's health problems and their impact on the plaintiff's ability to 'perform in an operating room setting.' ... It is not entirely clear whether Dr. Cumberbatch ever effectively suspended, revoked, or otherwise put into effect any restriction on the plaintiff's surgical privileges whatsoever. During his interview with the EEO examiner in December 2000, the plaintiff discussed a letter dated November 4, 1999, in which he alleges that Dr. Cumberbatch stated that the plaintiff was prohibited from doing certain types of surgeries unless he had Dr. Burns' supervision. ... The plaintiff also stated that Dr. Jones, Dr. Cumberbatch's superior, replied to Dr. Cumberbatch's letter and told him that the plaintiff did have surgical privileges and that Dr. Cumberbatch could not impose such restrictions on the plaintiff alone without including the rest of the podiatrists on staff. ... Neither Dr. Cumberbatch's letter nor Dr. Jones' response is included anywhere in the record, though these documents may have originally been included as attachments to the plaintiff's EEO testimony.
 
"Even assuming, arguendo, that the plaintiff's surgical privileges were restricted, any such action cannot be considered an adverse action under the circumstances presented in this case. Even if Dr. Cumberbatch successfully interfered with the plaintiff's surgical privileges on November 4, 1999, or on May 19, 2000, the plaintiff was at that time on medical leave, and would not return until August 2000. Upon his return, the plaintiff admits that he actually did have surgical privileges, but that he was voluntarily keeping himself out of the surgical suite in light of his own recent surgeries and ongoing recovery and healing process. ...
 
"... The plaintiff was out on a very extended sick leave when the alleged suspension occurred. His privileges were, by his own admission, restored (or remained intact) at the time he returned to work in August 2000. The reason the plaintiff did not return to surgical duties was because of his self-imposed attempt to complete his own healing process, as a result of his recent multiple surgeries and difficult recoveries. The plaintiff suffered no actual loss of pay, prestige, or privilege, nor indeed, any other ill effects whatsoever because of any alleged restriction or revocation of his surgical privileges, because he simply was not present for such detrimental effects to accrue. When he did return to work, the plaintiff prevented himself from performing surgeries, ... Under the totality of these circumstances, the alleged revocation of the plaintiff's surgical privileges simply does not rise to the level of an adverse employment action."
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CARRIE R. MARTIN v. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS was a 2005 federal employee EEOC decision which involved an African-American Jehovah's Witness named Carrie R. Martin. Limited details. In lieu of pending termination, Carrie Martin resigned in 2005, and thereafter filed a complaint alleging religious discrimination, racial discrimination, and reprisal by being fired. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Administrative Judge ruled that no discrimination had occurred, and the EEOC affirmed on appeal.

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YVONNE BLOUNT v. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS was a 2006-7 federal employee EEOC decision which involved a Jehovah's Witness named Yvonne Blount. Limited details. Blount started working as a Secretary in the Police and Security Section of the agency's Detroit, Michigan Medical Center in November 2003.  In May 2006, Yvonne Blount was terminated for "Unacceptable Performance."  Thereafter, Blount filed a complaint with the Merit Systems Protection Board alleging sex discrimination, religious discrimination, discrimination due to disability (diabetes, ankle, and gastrointestinal problems) and reprisal for prior protected EEO activity. The MSPB Administrative Judge ruled that there had been no discrimination. On appeal, the MSPB affirmed. On further appeal, the EEOC affirmed.

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MYLES L. JACKSON v. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS was a 2005-7 federal employee EEOC decision which involved a female Jehovah's Witness named Myles L. Jackson. Evidently, Myles Jackson was hired in December 2005 as a seasonal "Casual-Christmas" worker at the agency's Kansas City, Missouri Medical Facility. Jackson was initially verbally terminated during a discussion of her work performance, on December 16, 2005, after Jackson stated to her Supervisor,"If you want to fire me, go ahead."  The Supervisor eventually returned Jackson to work, and the Supervisor took no formal action to terminate Jackson's employment. However, Myles Jackson was finally terminated on December 19, 2005, during a meeting in the Supervisor's office, when Jackson attempted to tape record a meeting with the Supervisor and an agency "Inspector". Jackson was fired based on her refusal to turn off her tape recorder, which was a violation of agency rules prohibiting the tape recording of conversations between agency employees. Thereafter, Myles L. Jackson filed a complaint alleging religious discrimination, sex discrimination, and reprisal. Further, Jackson alleged that her first termination was caused by her failure to acquiesce in her male Supervisor's flirtatious behavior. Jackson further alleged that she had been "assaulted" during the second meeting with the Supervisor and Inspector. Jackson claimed that the Inspector touched her on her right breast when attempting to turn off her cassette player, and restrained her from leaving the office by blocking the door. Jackson further claimed that the Supervisor pried her fingers from off of his telephone as she tried to call the police. The EEOC Administrative Judge ruled that there had been no discrimination, and on appeal, the EEOC affirmed.

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EILEEN BELL and HEIDI MASCARENAS v. KAISER PERMANENTE HOSPITAL was a 2002 California lawsuit involving an African-American and a Hispanic Jehovah's Witnesses -- names Eileen Bell and Heidi Mascarenas.  The two clerical employees were fired from Kaiser's Richmond, California hospital facility.  Thereafter, the pair filed a lawsuit claiming that while employed at Kaiser Permante that they both were harassed because of their Jehovah's Witnesses religious beliefs and their race.  Outcome unknown.
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In 1996, an unidentified African-American Jehovah's Witness Registered Nurse was hired at a long term facility located in the Red Bank, New Jersey area.  She was terminated or quit (depending on which version of the account from the JW's own law firm you read), either three, four, or possibly more days later (depending on which version of the account from the JW's own law firm you read). A federal discrimination lawsuit, which alleged racial and religious discrimination, was quickly filed. Within less than one year, the long term facility paid $40,000.00 to settle the lawsuit and make the plaintiff go away.
 
Given that I have seen two different accounts of this lawsuit provided from the JW side, and given that there is no official record due to the settlement, readers should weigh this summary accordingly. The earlier account implied that the JW Nurse had worked for a longer period of time - long enough to be denied a shift promotion, and implied that the JW Nurse had in reality "quit", and later claimed "constructive termination". The earlier version also failed to mention that "racial discrimination" was a major part of the case. The earlier version also indicated that a claim for "harassment" had been included in the lawsuit.
 
According to the revised version, the JW Nurse was "terminated" on either the 3rd or 4th day after being hired. The JW Nurse was "terminated" because she reportedly failed BOTH the written and practical portions of the "medication dispensing" exams. Reportedly, during the practical part of the exam, given on either her second or third day of employment, the JW Nurse had given a patient the wrong dosage of Xanax - a controlled substance. The JW contended that since the error had been detected by the patient, and not the testing proctor, that her "termination" was discriminatory given that the proctor was not also terminated. JW Nurse also questioned whether the error had occurred based on absence of some records.
 
JW Nurse alleged that she was the only African-American employed at the facility, and that the other employees were obviously prejudiced. On either her second or third day there, another employee had brought in a watermelon to share with the other employees. JW Nurse alleged that that co-worker brought her the "biggest piece" of watermelon (an obvious slight), and stated that she was "probably dying for this." JW Nurse alleged that this was overheard by a supervisor, who she further alleged "snickered", and was obviously hostile against African-Americans, otherwise, the supervisor would have disciplined the watermelon deliverer on the spot. Thankfully, the JW Nurse was not paranoid, nor prejudiced, herself.
 
Later that second or third day, JW Nurse was "repeatedly" harassed to contribute $1 toward the employee's lottery pool, which JW Nurse declined. JW Nurse was allegedly asked if she were a "Jehovah's Witness" (obviously, only JWs do not play the lottery). After being "terminated" on either her third or fourth day there, JW Nurse was so emotionally distressed that she was out of work for seven months. New Jersey must be the only place in the world where Registered Nurses can't obtain employment within a matter of days. Here is my summary from the previous version seen at the JW's law firm website:
A New Jersey law firm lists on its' website a recent lawsuit in which it represented a Jehovah's Witness Nurse who received a $40,000.00 settlement or judgement (not specified). The JW Nurse mentioned in casual conversation with a co-worker that she was a Jehovah's Witness. The JW Nurse alleged that afterwards that that co-worker, other co-workers, and her supervisor began to act differently towards her. The JW Nurse also claimed that she was denied a shift promotion because she was a Jehovah's Witness. The JW Nurse complained to her supervisor, but voluntarily sought employment elsewhere. The JW Nurse thereafter filed a lawsuit, in which she claimed religious discrimination, harassment, and construction termination. I'm guessing that the Hospital paid the $40,000.00 to settle this lawsuit, because based on these limited facts, it does not sound as if a judge or jury would rule in the JW Nurse's favor.

 

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MISCELLANEOUS "SPEAK FOR THEMSELVES" CASES
 
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BRENDA UPTON v. WATCH TOWER BIBLE & TRACT SOCIETY was a very interesting 2006 New York state court case involving a Jehovah's Witness named Brenda Upton and the Jehovah's Witnesses themselves. Upton worked as a chiropractor at the Jehovah's Witnesses main Brooklyn headquarters from 1998 until 2001. Chiropractor Upton alleged that she injured her back around 2000, and that she was entitled to worker's compensation benefits. The Watch Tower Society claimed that Upton was not an employee, but merely a volunteer who is not legally entitled to any remedies typically available to employees. An Administrative Law Judge ruled in Upton's favor earlier in 2006, but the Watch Tower Society vowed to fight his decision. Unknown if Upton appealed. Nothing heard about case after 2006.
 
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MARTY HATCHER v. CITY OF PHILADELPHIA was a 1996?-2001? Pennsylvania worker's compensation case. In September 1998, a 46 year-old Philadelphia Paramedic, named Marty Hatcher, died from liver disease. Hatcher claimed that his liver disease had been contracted on-the-job, and he pursued worker's comp benefits to which he believed that he was entitled. After his death, Geneva Hatcher continued to pursue worker's comp benefits. She claimed that her husband had died of liver failure attributed to Hepatitis C. The City claimed that drinking, not Hepatitis C, caused Hatcher's cirrhosis. A judge ruled partially in Hatcher's favor, finding that the disease was job-related, but agreeing with the City that there was some question about what led to the cirrhosis. Geneva Hatcher further claimed that Marty Hatcher was a devout Jehovah's Witness, who was not a drinker.[EDITOR: I can't speak to the drinking habits of Marty Hatcher, but I've known numerous "devout JWs" who drank like fish.] As of 2000, Geneva Hatcher was continuing to pursue additional benefits. Outcome unknown.

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DUJAN WHITE MURDER

Readers should directly check out this August 2008 TOLEDO BLADE story about a 27 year-old reared-Jehovah's-Witness, who was shot and killed during a drug deal gone bad. The reporter apparently was disgusted with some of the characterizations made by the JWs' family and friends, and apparently decided to have some tongue-in-cheek fun with such. Here are some excerpts:

"Dujuan White was remembered yesterday by family and friends as a God-centered person ... ... ...

"'What really killed him is his kindness,' his mother, Linda Lawrence, said. 'He was trusting, and kindness killed him.' ... ...

"Mr. White was raised in South Toledo by his single mother and his grandmother, though he remained close to his father, Ms. Lawrence said. ... ...

"After finishing his GED in 2001 and a brief stint in the U.S. Navy [dishonorably discharged ???], he spent four years working with the elderly as a HOME HEALTH AIDE.

"He most recently worked at Jimmy Johns Gourmet Sandwiches in Maumee, but hoped to begin attending classes on real estate.

"He also intended to settle down with his girlfriend, Brittaney Steinmiller. ... ...

"The Christian values Mr. White learned as a Jehovah's Witness were his core, and he often ministered to friends by sharing the Bible's message, ... ... ...

"'He had his little run-ins with the law. That was always bad luck. He would just always be in the wrong place at the wrong time,' ... ... ... ."

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SHARON LEE WRIGHT v. UNITED STATES was a 1983 Michigan federal United States Court of Appeals decision.  Limited details only. Sharon Lee Wright was employed as a secretary in the Psychiatry Department at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Allen Park, Michigan.  On September 8, 1975, while performing her secretarial duties, Wright began experiencing severe abdominal pain. A fellow employee transported her by wheelchair to the hospital's emergency room. Wright was not eligible for treatment at Allen Park Veterans Administration Hospital. Nonetheless, the hospital staff undertook to treat her.Wright, a Jehovah Witness, was conscious and alert. She refused to accept blood transfusions.

Wright's parents arrived at the hospital soon after being notified of Wright's emergency. No husband was mentioned in available details. Wright's age also unknown. Wright's condition had worsened. She was still conscious, but unable to communicate effectively. Wright's parents maintain that they requested that their daughter be transferred to a hospital which was better equipped to treat a young female with pregnancy complications. The VA medical staff, allegedly, rejected this request. Wright's parents confirmed that Wright's religious beliefs prevented her from receiving blood transfusions. Although uncertain, the hospital probably had asked Wright's parents to consent to blood transfusions due to Wright's apparent incompetency, and they had also refused to consent.

Hospital personnel, nevertheless, elected to perform an exploratory laparotomy. A ruptured tubal pregnancy with massive intra-abdominal hemorrhage was discovered. When complications developed, Wright was placed on a respirator. The next morning, Wright agreed to submit to a blood transfusion. Several days later Wright was discharged from the hospital.

Two years later, just days short of what was probably a statute of limitations, Wright filed a malpractice claim with the Veterans Administration under the Federal Tort Claims Act.  Wright's claim alleged that a respirator had been improperly applied and operated, causing damage to her trachea, vocal cords and pharynx.  Other injuries to her abdomen, etc. were also alleged. It is not known if or how the blood transfusion issue related to any of Wright's alleged injuries.

The federal district court dismissed Wright's suit holding that the Federal Employees Compensation Act was Wright's exclusive remedy due to Wright's status as an employee of the defendant.  The Court of Appeals reversed based on the dual capacity of employer.  While Wright was injured at the workplace, her injury, a ruptured tubal pregnancy, was not work-related. Furthermore, the alleged malpractice resulted in an alleged injury wholly separate and distinct from the injury for which Wright was being treated. Thus, a claim under the Federal Tort Claims Act was Wright's exclusive remedy.  Outcome unknown.


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