A company in Houston, Texas, may eventually have to go to court in order to learn to respect the religious beliefs of its employees.
Alexia Palma, who immigrated from Guatemala as a child, worked for Legacy Community Health in Houston as a health educator in its clinic for low income patients from the inner city area. Because her Catholic beliefs prohibit her from practicing contraception, the management at her company allowed her to show a video on the subject, rather than teach it herself – a class that comprised only 2 percent of her job.
Palma said that this arrangement was working fine … while it lasted.
“This was working perfectly clear for a year-and-a-half – until new management came in [and] found out about my accommodation,” she explained. “And the moment they found out about my accommodation, they asked me to put my religious beliefs aside and personally teach a class – or else I would be terminated.”
Palma was soon fired.
Her attorney, Jeremy Dys of First Liberty Institute, told OneNewsNow that the company’s actions violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
“The employer is actually required to accommodate those religious beliefs – so long as it doesn't pose an undue hardship to the company – and clearly the job was getting done,” Dys pointed out. “She had good marks from her clients, as well as from her employer. The only thing that she was fired for was for the company's refusal to provide an accommodation.”
As a result of the company’s refusal to accommodate and subsequent termination of Palma, First Liberty filed an official complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commisson (EEOC), alleging religious discrimination on the part of Legacy Community Health.
“I really want to see that they never do this again to another employee,” Dys insisted. “We should never be in a position where we have to pick between our job and our religious beliefs.”