Orrington Firm Subjected Employees to Sexual Advances and Scientology Indoctrination and Fired Those Who Complained, Federal Agency Charged
CHICAGO – A Chicago dental practice will pay $462,500 to settle a class sexual and religious harassment and retaliation lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.
In its lawsuit, the EEOC alleged that James L. Orrington, D.M.D., Ltd. discriminated against 18 employees by subjecting them to sexual harassment, including sexual propositions, comments and touching; forcing them to engage in Scientology religious practices and learn about Scientology as conditions of their employment; and/or retaliating against employees who complained about the sexual or religious harassment. The lawsuit, which was filed September 20, 2007, was assigned to Judge Robert Dow of the Northern District of Illinois and captioned EEOC et al. v. James L. Orrington D.M.D., Ltd., 07 C 5317. The consent decree resolving the case was entered by the court this morning.
In addition to requiring that Orrington pay monetary relief, the three-year consent decree resolving the case enjoins Orrington from engaging in sexual or religious discrimination and prohibits the firm from conditioning any terms or conditions of employment on complying with the religious teachings or practices of Scientology or attending seminars regarding Scientology.
The consent decree also requires that Orrington contract with an outside representative to receive and investigate complaints of sexual discrimination and religious discrimination; adopt and distribute a policy against sexual harassment, religious discrimination and harassment, and retaliation; provide training to employees; submit periodic reports to the EEOC about any complaints of sexual harassment, religious discrimination or harassment, or retaliation; and post a notice at its facility regarding the outcome of this lawsuit.
“We’re glad to see this case brought to a successful conclusion, with compensation to the victims and an injunction entered against Dr. Orrington’s practice,” said John Hendrickson, EEOC regional attorney in Chicago. “The misconduct here was shameful — combining sex, forced Scientology, and putting people’s jobs on the line — and it was especially shameful because the person doing it was a medical professional who occupied a position of trust in his community. Having the decree remain in effect for three years will let us be certain we really have put a stop to these illegal practices.”
The EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws prohibiting discrimination in employment based on race, color, sex (including sexual harassment and pregnancy), religion, national origin, age, disability, and retaliation. Further information about the Commission is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.
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