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Madison County settles in religious discrimination case

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in Discrimination and Harassment,HR Management,Human Resources

An agnostic paramedic sued Madison County for religious discrimination after the county offered Christian counseling, held Christian prayer meetings in the workplace and allegedly terminated him because of his agnosticism. The paramedic also alleged his employer violated his privacy when his supervisor rummaged through his personal belongings and found pornography.

The county and the paramedic disagreed on more than religion. The paramedic joined his fellow EMTs in alleging the county failed to pay overtime. That class-action suit is still pending. The county elected to settle the religious discrimination case for $55,000—$40,000 for the claim and $15,000 for attorneys’ fees.

Final note: Public employers may not express a preference for one religion over another—that violates the First Amendment. Private employers have more latitude in expressing religious beliefs, but may not discriminate against workers who disagree with those beliefs.

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