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Voodoo a religion? Texas HHS about to find out

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Firing,Human Resources

A former employee of the Texas Health and Human Services (HHS) Com­mis­sion has accused the state agency of retaliation and discrimination on the basis of her religion—voodoo.

Victoria Vaughan filed suit against the commission and Execu­tive Com­mis­sioner Thomas Suehs, claiming that she was fired for allegedly threatening co-workers with voodoo. But Vaughan ­believes the real reason was her super­visor’s discomfort with her religious beliefs.

Vaughan began working for the Texas HHS in June 2009. In April 2010, Vaughan claims, she discussed her “deeply held religious beliefs” with her boss. According to Vaughan, the super­visor stated she felt threatened by Vaughan’s voodoo beliefs and claimed the practice of voodoo posed a threat to her co-workers.

Vaughan claims she was fired a few days after her supervisor learned about her religious beliefs. Vaughan also alleges that her supervisor included a note in her personnel file stating she had threatened others with a voodoo curse and that her boss told others she had fired Vaughan because of her religion.

Vaughan is seeking damages for men­tal trauma, lost wages, benefits, com­pensatory damages, punitive damages, interest, court costs and attorneys’ fees.

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