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Medical Practice Will Pay $375,000 to Resolve Religious Discrimination and Retaliation Allegations

2021-03-23

Owners of the medical practice conducted mandatory daily meetings that involved prayer and reading Biblical verses

EEOC sued Tim Shepherd M.D., P.A. and Bridges Healthcare, P.A., doing business as Shepherd Healthcare alleging that they subjected employees to a religiously based hostile work environment by imposing religious practices and beliefs on them.  The agency also alleged retaliation since some employees were fired because they expressed their objections or opposition to the religious practices.

Shepherd Healthcare conducted daily mandatory meetings that involved prayer and a reading of Biblical verses, including discussion of how those principles applied to the employees’ personal lives.  A Buddhist employee in the call center asked several times to be excused from attending the religious portion of the daily meeting as a religious accommodation.  Her request was denied and she was fired one day after she had renewed her request to be excluded from the Bible meetings.

On March 11, 2021, U.S. District Court Judge Sean D. Jordan ordered the defendants to provide monetary relief to 10 former employers and to conduct training on Title VII for all employees and managers.  The judgement also prohibits the healthcare facility from requiring or pressuring any employee to engage in religious-based activities. 

Shortly after the initial amended complaint was filed, Dr. Shepherd filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.  However, it was discovered that Bridges Healthcare P.A. had been created by Dr. Shepherd shortly before the bankruptcy filing. 

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