A former employee filed a complaint on Wednesday in the Southern District of Texas against the Commonspirit Health, St. Joseph Manor Assisted Living and St. Joseph Health System for alleged religious discrimination regarding COVID-19 testing.
According to the complaint, the plaintiff was employed at St Joseph Manor since 2016. The plaintiff is a member of the Gathering of Christ Church, which holds as a tenet that members cannot place foreign substances in their persons from unclean animals. The plaintiff had previously informed the employer of her religious beliefs and had previously received a vaccination exemption. In the first round of testing, the plaintiff complied and was tested on a belief that the testing materials included no animal byproducts. However, after receiving further information regarding the prepared swabs, the plaintiff declined further testing unless confirmation was received regarding the preparation of the swabs and if any animal product was used in the creation or processing. During the May 2020 mandatory testing mandate in Texas, the plaintiff declined testing without this information and was terminated from her position for failure to comply.
The plaintiff is suing for religious discrimination and retaliation and seeks back and front pay, compensatory damages for mental anguish, punitive damages, interest, and attorney fees. Plaintiff is represented by Tyler & Maderer PLLC.