Saturday, November 13, 2010

In an advanced civilization, conducting exorcisms in the workplace is not acceptable

There are however parts of the US that seem to be rapidly devolving. This story is from Texas:
In Shatkin v. University of Texas at Arlington, three employees who had personal conflicts with a co-worker agreed to pray together after work. They met outside the co-worker’s office when it was empty.

One member of the prayer vigil rubbed olive oil on the co-employee’s office door and chanted loudly, “I command you demons to leave (the co-worker’s name), you vicious evil dogs get the hell out of there in the name of Jesus, get the hell out of (the co-worker name).”

One of the three employees reported the incident to their supervisor. Following an investigation, the other two employees were terminated because they “displayed conduct unbecoming a UT Arlington staff member, harassment of a fellow co-worker and blatant disregard for the property of UT Arlington.” The terminated employees then requested religious accommodation. Their request was denied. The two ex-employees sued UTA alleging religious discrimination. UTA asked the court to dismiss the claim, arguing the employees did not request religious accommodation prior to engaging in the conduct, and also arguing it had no duty to accommodate harassing conduct aimed at a co-worker. The court declined to dismiss that case, finding that there were issues of fact that needed to be resolved by a jury.

That's just creepy. If I were the targeted coworker, my skin would be crawling at the thought of what happened. I'm guessing that the sort of invasiveness of an exorcism wouldn't have been accommodated by the university even had the terminated employees requested such accommodation in advance. Clearly a boundary was crossed, regardless of what might have led up to the incident.

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