A longtime licensed clinical social worker who was ordered to be a “social worker first, Catholic second” and then fired because of her biblical beliefs about marriage is suing the agency that dismissed her.
The suit was filed by the Thomas More Law Center on behalf of Kathleen Lorentzen.
Lorentzen had asked permission from her former employer, HealthSource Saginaw in Michigan, for permission to refer a homosexual duo to another counselor for “marriage” counseling.
She then was fired.
Tyler Brooks, senior counsel for TMLC, said the case shows “that people of faith are under assault in the workplace.”
“The fact is, however, that Christians need not choose between their faith and their jobs. Despite what many would have us believe, discrimination against Christians is a civil rights violation that will subject employers to legal liability,” Brooks explained.
Lorentzen had no issue with counseling homosexual patients, except that this duo was coming for marriage counseling.
She wanted to refer them to someone else, because seeing them on that issue “would violate her religious beliefs and practices regarding the sanctity of marriage as the union between one man and one woman.”
The legal team charged that her supervisor “became angry with her when she asked to refer the couple to another therapist, as was her right under Title VII.”
“Federal civil rights law generally requires employers to reasonably accommodate an employee’s religious beliefs so long as doing so would not impose an undue hardship. In this case, the couple could have easily been referred to another therapist.”
She was summoned into a meeting, “aggressively interrogated about her faith” and subjected to dismissive comments about her faith, such as “they are just priests.”
She then received a letter informing her she was being terminated.
“An employee does not forfeit her right to practice her religion and abide by the tenets of her faith when she enters the workplace,” the document explains. “To the contrary, both federal and state laws generally prohibit discrimination in employment [on] the basis of religion.”
She is suing under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act and Michigan state law.
Kraynak and Puckett are supervisors.
HealthSource Saginaw did not comment, but referred WND to a lawyer, who did not respond when WND left a message.
The filing explains the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission already has looked into her claims and has given her a “right to sue letter.”
She’s counseled for more than two decades and never has had issues, but in this case, because of her Catholic faith, “she felt that she could not see them any further for marriage counseling.”
She even became frightened for her safety because of her supervisors’ anger during a meeting, the filing states.
It alleges violations of Title VII, religious discrimination and harassment, the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act, breach of contract, and even interfering with her business.
“Defendant HealthSource terminated Mrs. Lorentzen because she engaged in statutorily granted rights, including requesting a religious accommodation and complaining about and opposing religious discrimination,” the filing says.