JOBS - DUTIES JW EMPLOYEES REFUSE TO PERFORM
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.
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."
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
"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'. ... ."
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.
RACIAL - RELIGIOUS DISCRIMINATION LAWSUITS & COMPLAINTS
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.
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. ...
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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,' ... ... ... ."
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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