Feds: North Memorial pulled nurse's job offer over religion issue

Updated 4:07 p.m. | Posted 2:31 p.m.

North Memorial Health Care violated federal law when it withdrew a job offer after the applicant sought a religious accommodation, the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said in a lawsuit.

The EEOC said the Robbinsdale-based hospital offered Emily Sure-Ondara a position as a registered nurse. Sure-Ondara, a Seventh-Day Adventist, then requested she not be scheduled to work from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday in accord with her religious practices.

"North Memorial determined it would not grant the requested accommodation. Sure-Ondara told North Memorial that she was willing to work without the accommodation, but North Memorial withdrew her job offer anyway," the EEOC said in a statement.

The agency's lawsuit filed this week alleges the hospital violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which protects employees and job applicants from retaliation when they engage in activities protected under the law, such as requesting an accommodation for religious reasons.

"After she requested an accommodation and they said no they wouldn't give her the job even though she would have worked without it and we think that's retaliation," said EEOC Senior Trial Attorney Jessica Palmer-Denig.

Retaliation is just as illegal as denying the accommodation, she added.

North Memorial did not respond to a request for comment.

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