Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Court Says State Agency Can Ban Employee From Giving Faith-Based Counseling

In Moore v. Metropolitan Human Service District2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 107997 (ED LA, Oct. 8, 2010), a Louisiana federal district court dismissed a Title VII religious discrimination claim brought by a social worker employed by a state agency that provides counseling for patients suffering from addictive disorders. Plaintiff Beulah Moore is also an ordained minister.  The clinic manager at the facility employing Moore ordered her to cease providing spiritual based counseling and prayer in her clinical treatment of clients.  Evidence failed to support broader claims in Moore's complaint that she was also ordered to stop mentioning God at all in the work facility. (See prior related posting.) Moore resigned in a letter stating: "I refuse to be harassed and discriminated against because I speak of God, mention Jesus and have given Spiritual Support to clients on their request." The court concluded that the state agency was justified in restricting Moore's faith-based treatment of clients in order to avoid an Establishment Clause violation.