Liberty Institute and the law firm of Parks, Chesin & Walbert have filed a discrimination charge against the Georgia Department of Health with the EEOC on behalf of Dr. Eric Walsh who was denied employment due to his expression of his religious beliefs. The following press release was issued September 23, 2014 by Liberty Institute. Liberty Institute is a non-denominational organization that bills itself as “the nation’s largest legal organization exclusively dedicated to defending religious liberty in America.” The Georgia Department of Health has indicated that it will be responding to the charges shortly. We will be following the progress of this case as it proceeds.
Press Release –
ATLANTA, GA, September 23, 2014-Today, Liberty Institute and Parks, Chesin & Walbert, attorneys for Dr. Eric Walsh, a leading public health expert, who holds both a medical degree and Ph.D. and serves as lay minister with the Seventh Day Adventist Church, filed an official charge of discrimination with the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Georgia Department of Health offered Dr. Walsh a job in May, which he accepted, announced his employment publicly, but then top officials laughed about their decision to terminate his position as Director of Public Health for the region of northeast Georgia based upon Dr. Walsh’s religious beliefs. Listen to the voicemail here: https://libertyinstitute.org/walsh#voicemail.
“No one should be fired for simply expressing his religious beliefs,” said Andrew Coffman, partner in the law firm of Parks, Chesin & Walbert and a Liberty Institute volunteer attorney. “In America, it is against the law to fire an employee for expressing his religious beliefs-especially when that expression takes place at church. This kind of religious intolerance by an employer has no place in today’s workforce.”
Dr. Walsh, among the first of his family to go to college, was eminently qualified to lead the Georgia Department of Health, but has now been effectively blacklisted by the Georgia Department of Health because of religious messages he gave as a lay minister. According to the Charge of Discrimination filed today with the EEOC, Dr. Walsh was the focus of California activists, dissatisfied with his selection as a speaker at the graduation ceremony for Pasadena City College. A mean-spirited campaign that intentionally twisted Dr. Walsh’s religious beliefs ultimately resulted in his forced resignation as the Director of Public Health for the City of Pasadena.
“This kind of intolerance has no place in today’s workforce,” stated Jeremy Dys, Senior Counsel for Liberty Institute. “People of faith ought to be respected at work, not fired for expressing their religious beliefs at church.”
A copy of Dr. Walsh’s EEOC complaint, the statement in support of his charge of discrimination, and other information, including a picture of Dr. Walsh, is available at https://libertyinstitute.org/walsh
The EEOC will now begin an independent investigation of Dr. Walsh’s charges of religious discrimination and retaliation. Should the EEOC agree that the Georgia Department of Health is guilty of religious discrimination, it may order broad relief, including back pay, front pay, and other significant damages for the unlawful conduct of Dr. Walsh’s one-time employer.