Hospital Claims EEOC is Misinterpreting Title VII Protections in Lawsuit

Minnesota-based North Memorial Health Care has filed a motion for summary judgment in a case in which a nurse alleges the hospital rescinded a job offer due to religious discrimination.

According to an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) complaint, Emily Sure-Ondara alleges the hospital took back its job offer for a nursing position after she asked to have Friday evenings off so she could attend religious services. Attorneys representing North Memorial say the case should be dismissed because the request for accommodation is not protected under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.

What are the limits of Title VII?

In its motion, the hospital argued that the EEOC was seeking to expand the definition of the protections Title VII offers against discrimination due to “an erroneous reading of the statute and a misapprehension of the relevant facts.”

Sure-Ondara, a Seventh-Day Adventist, reportedly told hospital officials that her religion prohibited her from working on the Sabbath, which is from sundown Friday and to sundown Saturday. What’s particularly interesting about the case is that North Memorial still rescinded the offer, even after Sure-Ondara later agreed to work Friday evenings without the accommodation. The EEOC sued the hospital after the woman filed a complaint with the commission.

It will be interesting to see how this case plays out, as it could have an impact on future cases that stem on a court’s interpretation of the protections offered through Title VII. If you are aware of discrimination or other forms of illegal activities within your business or organization, speak with an experienced Dallas attorney at Whistleblower Law for Managers.