A licensed clinical psychologist who lost a contract to evaluate job candidates for the city of Minneapolis because of his service to a pro-family organization is suing the city for discrimination.
“Government officials do not have the right to end someone’s contract on the basis of religion or political viewpoint,” said Brian Raum, senior legal counsel for The Alliance Defense Fund, which is representing Dr. Michael Campion.
Campion, a Christian who taught at the College of Medicine at the University of Illinois for 18 years and whose expertise has been sought by the U.S. Department of Justice for three of its research projects, had been hired by Minneapolis in 2005 as an independent contract.
He had a successful professional relationship with the city, the law firm said, providing pre-employment testing, fitness for duty testing and other services.
But a writer in the “Illinois Times” wrote an article criticizing Campion’s affiliation with the Illinois Family Institute, which advocates for families, and the city “suspended” Campion, the ADF said.
“The city then hired an independent psychological testing company to evaluate Campion and see if his process for reviewing applications for employment with the city was inherently flawed or biased,” the ADF said. “In July 2006, the testing company submitted its conclusions to the city, having found no evidence of bias and having found Campion’s processes to be consistent with or beyond expectations for good psychological and statistical practice.”
The test results showed Campion was “clearly an expert in this line of work.”
The city followed up with a decision to rescind its agreement with Campion to conduct dozens of pre-hire screening tests, and instead hired another company with fewer qualifications at a significantly higher cost – $650 per evaluation – to do the work, instead of Dr. Campion’s $395.
“City officials in Minneapolis should base their contract decisions on experience and qualifications,” Raum said. “Dr. Campion is a highly qualified, experienced professional, and the city was absolutely wrong to fire him.”
The complaint filed by the ADF said the author of the article, Dusty Rhodes, referred to Campion’s membership on the board of the IFI “and implied there may have been bias.” The article was titled: “Partial disclosure: Psychologist who screens firefighters is leader with anti-choice, anti-gay group.”
But the complaint said, “There has never been any evidence Dr. Campion engaged in any form of discrimination in connection with his psychological testing.”
“On May 19, 2005, Dusty Rhodes wrote another article in the ‘Illinois Times,’ titled ‘Last Straw,’ in which she stated the August 2004 Times article ‘revealed that Campion leads a group of conservative activists called Illinois Family Institute. The group advocates for religious freedom and opposes abortion, stem cell research, gay marriage, gambling, and decriminalization of any illegal drugs, needle exchanges, and civil rights protection for homosexuals,'” the complaint said.
A spokesman for the Illinois Family Institute, which is independent but maintains working relationships with national and international groups such as Focus on the Family, told WND that the goal appears to be to demonize Christians.
Campion’s work was unchallenged until the articles came to light and Minneapolis City Councilor Scott Benson demanded an investigation because of the psychologist’s work with IFI.
City officials alleged Campion was suspended from his work during that time, then reinstated because there were no complaints, only to be told the department’s procedure was being changed and he was no longer needed.
“The chief, when there was an allegation of bias, the chief looked into it,” Minneapolis police Lt. Greg Reinhardt told WND. “No complaint came forward. But he stated that in the future, all such services will be contracted under an RFP process, request for proposal, that is being developed.”
A similar situation had developed a short time earlier with Campion and the city of Springfield, Ill., where he had provided screening for both police and fire department hirings.
“Dr. Campion’s right to freedom of association is being sacrificed on the altar of political correctness,” David Smith, Executive Director of IFI, said. “Does one have to embrace the homosexual activist and abortion causes to be able to exercise their First Amendment rights?”
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