WILL EEOC SHOW MERCY TO MERCY HEALTH?
On May 1, 2023, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced that it had filed a lawsuit against a Grand Rapids hospital known as Mercy Health St. Mary’s – a member of the Trinity Health System – for allegedly declining to hire a prospective employee due to his religious beliefs.
Apparently, the individual refused a flu vaccine, for religious reasons. Even though he requested an exemption, Mercy Health is said to have “arbitrarily denied his request and rescinded the job offer.”
Alleging that such conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the EEOC filed civil litigation in U.S. District Court Western District of Michigan (EEOC v. Mercy Health St. Mary’s, Case No. 1:23-cv-00435), seeking monetary relief for the rejected applicant and an injunction ending such discriminatory hiring practices.
In a written statement released by the agency, Dale Price, senior trial attorney in the EEOC’s Detroit Field Office, noted, “Instead of rejecting the applicant’s religious accommodation request outright, Mercy Health should have followed up with him if it had questions …. If it had questions, Mercy Health could have spoken with this individual before making a decision to determine the contours of his religious beliefs, rather than prematurely determining that his beliefs were not genuine.”
St Mary’s could surely use the help of the Trinity here.
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