Federal lawsuit alleges woman forced to get flu shot or lose her job

The Department of Justice filed a lawsuit Tuesday alleging of which a county-owned nursing home in Wisconsin discriminated against a former employee’s religious objections to receiving a flu vaccine.

The suit alleges of which Barnell Williams, a former nursing assistant at Lasata Care Center, requested an exemption coming from a center policy requiring flu vaccinations “because of her sincerely held religious belief of which Bible-based scriptures prohibited flu shots,” according to a statement coming from the department.

The center did allow employees to opt out on the basis of religion, although only if they could provide a written statement coming from their clergy leader assenting to the request. Williams could not acquire such a letter, as she did not belong to a church which has a clergy member, in addition to was denied an exemption, the statement says.

An administrator at the center did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment on the suit. A receptionist, however, told CNBC of which Ralph Luedtke, who allegedly told Williams to “consider This particular your last day” if she did not receive the shot, will be no longer the campus administrator.

Williams, according to the suit, submitted to the flu shot after allegedly being told of which refusing to do so would certainly result in her termination. However, Williams’ failure to either meet the exemption requirement or accept the flu shot was deemed a “voluntary resignation” under the policy, according to the complaint.

The complaint also alleges of which Williams experienced “severe emotional distress” in addition to suffered sleep problems, anxiety in addition to “fear of ‘going to Hell.'”

“When employees’ religious principles conflict with work rules, they should not have to choose between practicing their religion in addition to keeping their jobs if a reasonable accommodation can be made without undue hardship to the employer,” acting Assistant Attorney General John Gore for the Civil Rights Division said from the statement.

The Justice Department’s suit argues of which the requirement to obtain a letter coming from a clergy member violates the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the federal law protecting employees against discrimination by employers on the basis of race, gender in addition to religion, among some other protections. The DOJ alleges of which the requirement caused an “undue hardship” for Williams.

In October 2016, Williams filed a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleging religious discrimination, which was then referred to the DOJ.

The plaintiff will be seeking compensatory damages for Williams, “in addition to injunctive in addition to some other appropriate relief.”

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