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Pentecostal nurse wins religious attire lawsuit

Pentecostal nurse Malinda Babineaux has settled a religious discrimination lawsuit after she was denied a job because of her religious convictions about how she should dress.

Babineaux had been offered a job with Wellpath LLC, but Wellpath rescinded its initial offer when the nurse declined to wear pants as part of her uniform. Citing religious beliefs, Babineaux offered to wear a scrub skirt instead — a compromise Wellpath rebuffed.

Under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, discrimination against a person’s sincerely held religious beliefs is illegal. Employers are obliged to come to a reasonable accommodation to respect those beliefs if possible.

Andrea Morris of CBN writes:

A health care provider will pay $75,000 to settle a religious discrimination lawsuit involving a Pentecostal nurse whose request to wear a scrub skirt instead of pants was denied.

According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the practicing Apostolic Pentecostal Christian was hired by Wellpath LLC to provide services at the Central Texas Detention Facility in San Antonio.

After accepting the job in 2019, Malinda Babineaux told a Wellpath human resources employee that she preferred to wear a skirt due to her religious beliefs. Wellpath turned down her request and rescinded her job offer.

The EEOC first sought to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process, but those efforts were unsuccessful.

Then the federal agency took legal action in September 2020, citing Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which forbids discrimination against religious beliefs. The lawsuit also points out that Babineaux had worn a scrub skirt in previous nursing jobs, including at a juvenile correctional facility.

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