Provider settles in EEOC Scientology case

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A Florida medical provider has agreed to a settlement over allegations it fired employees who refused efforts to be converted to Scientology.

Dynamic Medical Services was accused of employment discrimination, with the plaintiffs and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission saying that all employees had to attend Scientology courses, which included practices such as staring at someone for eight hours without moving. The complaint said one employee, a Jehovah's Witness, was fired after telling a supervisor she didn't want to attend the courses. Two other employees said they resigned after being told they would be fired if they didn't attend the courses, and another was allegedly fired for not attending the Church of Scientology regularly. The EEOC filed the case on their behalf in May.

It dropped the case on Dec. 17 pursuant to the settlement, which includes a total of $161,500 to the four employees. The company also will pay an additional $8,500 into a class fund for other former employees.

In a written statement, Dynamic Medical systems said, “We deny all of the allegations brought against Dynamic Medical in the EEOC case. However, given the expense to litigate these types of things, we made a business decision to try and resolve it,” the Miami New Times reported.

The company agreed to several stipulations in an injunction, such as not “discriminating against employees because of their sincerely held religious beliefs” or requiring employees to participate in Scientology course.

The EEOC also announced the filing of two other complaints against healthcare providers in December. In one, a hospital is accused of violating the Americans with Disabilities Act by firing an office worker for breast cancer, saying it could not accommodate the employees' request for additional leave. In another, a Washington, D.C., hospital is being sued for refusal to accommodate a disabled employee. The hospital would not accommodate a medical assistant's need to use a cane, placed her on medical leave and then fired her when the leave was over, the EEOC says.

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