A Christian nurse hired to work at a Texas correctional facility lost the job offer after her request to wear scrub skirts instead of pants was denied, officials say.
Now, the Tennessee-based healthcare company that hired her has agreed to pay $75,000 to settle a religious discrimination lawsuit filed by the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Federal authorities say the nurse — a practicing Apostolic Pentecostal Christian — was hired by Wellpath, LLC to work at the GEO Central Texas Correctional Facility in downtown San Antonio.
“Before reporting to work, the nurse told a Wellpath Human Resources employee that her religious beliefs required her to dress modestly and wear a scrub skirt instead of scrub pants to work. “, says a press release from the EEOC. “In response, Wellpath denied the religion-based accommodation request and rescinded the nurse’s job offer.”
According to the February 1 press release, the nurse said she had been able to wear a scrub skirt in previous nursing jobs.
When asked if Wellpath would like to comment on the settlement, a spokesperson told McClatchy News, “We do not comment on employment matters.” The company’s website says Wellpath provides health care services to patients in 34 states at “treatment facilities, civic engagement centers, and local, state, and federal correctional facilities.”
The EEOC says Wellpath has agreed to train human resources employees and some Texas managers on anti-discrimination laws and accommodations, including requests for religious clothing and grooming.
The nurse will receive the $75,000 as back pay and compensatory damages, officials said, and Wellpath will also provide a notice to employees advising them of their rights.
“Under federal law, when a rule in the workplace conflicts with an employee’s sincere religious practice, an employer must attempt to find a workable solution,” said Philip Moss, attorney for the office of EEOC land in San Antonio. “These regulations should underscore the importance of employers taking positive steps to comply with their obligations under anti-discrimination laws.”
Federal officials say this lawsuit settlement comes after the EEOC first attempted to “achieve a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.” It was filed on the basis of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which “prohibits discrimination on the basis of religion and requires employers to reasonably accommodate the sincere religious beliefs of an applicant or employee. employee, unless it poses an undue hardship”.