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Sterling Employment Law

Religious discrimination alleged in lawsuit against MI dentist

Workers in Michigan need to know that they have certain rights under the law protecting them from various forms of discrimination. Discrimination can come in many different forms and in many instances, employees might not even be aware that they have been subjected to workplace discrimination or that they have the right to pursue legal compensation for it. When a person thinks that their employee rights have been violated in any way, it is imperative to understand the law and whether a legal filing can be initiated because of the treatment.

Four former employees of a Michigan dentist filed a lawsuit alleging religious discrimination. According to the filing, the former employees claim that they were dismissed or faced reprimand because they protested against the dentist's behavior, which included playing Christian-themed music in the office and having prayer meetings for her employees. One former employee says that the dentist wanted the Christian music to play as a tactic in warding off "demons."

At first, the prayer meetings were optional, but they eventually became compulsory. The workers requested in writing for the behavior to stop, and one employee even resigned in August of 2014. Another did the same in October of that year. A dental hygienist and a front desk employee were fired in July of 2015. The dentist denies that attendance at the prayer meetings were required.

The former employees filed their lawsuit in August of 2015. They are requesting compensation for lost income and benefits.

In this case, the employees claim that they were forced to partake in their employer's prayer meetings and were subjected to listening to Christian music at work. People who are dealing with religious discrimination have rights. If an employer makes an employee feel uncomfortable in the workplace, or terminates an employee because of their religious beliefs or due to refusing to take part in religious rituals, the employee can pursue a lawsuit. Speaking to an attorney can help employees in this situation get information on how to move forward with a case.

Source: Washington Post, "A dentist is being sued for harassing staff by constantly playing Christian music," Leslie Caimi, Jan. 15, 2016

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