Fired Physician Assistant Sues Michigan Health for Dismissal Due to Religious Beliefs | Michigan

(The Center Square) – A physician assistant who claims she was fired after seeking a religious exemption for referring patients to transgender care and using their preferred personal pronouns has filed a federal lawsuit court case against the University of Michigan Health-West.

In September, the Place du Center reported Valerie Kloosterman claims diversity program director Thomas Pierce called her ‘evil’ and accused her of gender dysphoria-related suicides after she cited her Christian faith as a reason to avoid specific procedures .

She was fired on August 24, 2021.

“Because Valerie would not violate her conscience, Michigan Health violated her rights and terminated her employment,” Kayla Toney, a First Liberty Institute attorney, said in a statement. “It is patently intolerant of Michigan Health to require medical professionals like Valerie to give up their religious beliefs in order to remain employed. Valérie loves her community and her work. She is devastated that the University of Michigan health system mocked her beliefs and demanded that she choose between her faith and providing health care.

Kloosterman worked for the hospital for 17 years until the summer of 2021, when the group decreed mandatory “diversity and inclusion” training. Kloosterman requested a religious accommodation because she could not affirm statements about sex that violated her Christian beliefs.

The lawsuit claims the hospital refused religious accommodation from Kloosterman but provided accommodations to others, such as a male doctor who wished to refrain from performing pelvic exams of female patients and those who objected. prescription opioids or diet pills.

“The hospital officials’ explicit attack on his religious beliefs provides direct evidence that his dismissal was the result of unlawful religious discrimination,” the lawsuit states.

Peter VanLaan, associate general counsel for the health system, told The Center Square, “The University of Michigan Health-West is committed to providing appropriate medical treatment to all patients and respects the religious beliefs of its employees. Our organization does not discuss personnel issues and as such has no further comment.”

The lawsuit says the hospital violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by rejecting religious accommodation and then firing her.

“Defendants targeted Ms. Kloosterman for dismissal because she requested accommodation for her religious beliefs,” the lawsuit states. “Defendants also violated the First Amendment’s free exercise clause, as incorporated against states via the Fourteenth Amendment, when they granted secular accommodations to other employees regarding common medications and medical procedures while failing to provide religious accommodation to Ms. Kloosterman regarding many of the rarer drugs and medical procedures.