Health care provider to pay nurse $750,000 in ‘scrub skirt’ religious discrimination lawsuit | United States and world

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A health care provider has agreed to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to a woman who lost her job after telling superiors she needed to dress modestly because of her religious beliefs.

Tennessee-based Wellpath will pay $750,000 and provide ‘substantial equitable relief’ as part of a settlement in a lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleging illegal religious discrimination against a job applicant, according to a statement released Tuesday by the federal agency.

“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 at the field office. of the EEOC in San Antonio.

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“These regulations should underscore the importance of employers taking positive steps to comply with their obligations under anti-discrimination laws,” Moss added.

Malinda Babineaux, a Christian nurse with apostolic Pentecostal beliefs, was hired by Wellpath to work at the GEO Central Texas Correctional Facility in San Antonio, according to the complaint obtained by the Washington Examiner filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, Division of San Antonio on September 14, 2020. Before her first day of work, Babineaux advised a human resources employee that due to her religious beliefs, she would have to wear a scrub skirt instead of the usual scrub pants, the EEOC said.

Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, discrimination against a person based on such things as religion, race, and sex is prohibited. Employers are required to provide reasonable accommodations to an individual’s “sincere religious beliefs, unless it poses an undue hardship,” the EEOC pointed out.

The EEOC said Wellpath rejected Babineaux’s clothing request and revoked his job offer. She had previously been allowed to wear scrub skirts in other nursing jobs, including one where she worked at a juvenile correctional facility, according to the lawsuit.

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In addition to providing Babineaux with “back wages and compensatory damages,” Wellpath will also provide training to its human resources employees and train “select managers across Texas” on how to prevent discrimination. It will also offer religious accommodations, which include “religion-based clothing and grooming”.

the Washington Examiner has contacted Wellpath for comment.

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