A male nurse in Dearborn, Michigan, has launched a sexual discrimination lawsuit against the city, claiming that he was fired for treating conservative, Muslim women.
John Benitez Jr., 63, is suing to be reinstated and to secure unspecified damages following his dismissal. He worked at a taxpayer-funded clinic in Dearborn, where, prior to his departure, he claims he was ordered not to treat conservative, Muslim women.
According to the lawsuit, which was filed in U.S. District Court, a female supervisor had specifically commanded him to avoid treating females wearing head scarves. Benitez was allegedly told that the clinic's male Muslim clients didn't want male medical personnel assisting female patients, according to The Detroit News. Many Muslims apparently prefer to be treated by individuals who are of the same gender.
The nurse claims that he complied, but that in November 2010, a doctor ordered him to treat Muslim women just as he would any other patient. Benitez's legal challenge says that he followed orders and was fired just one month later.
The nurse's lawyer, Deborah Gordon, says that taxpayer-funded entities shouldn't necessarily be complying with religious beliefs that impede an individual's abilities to perform his or her work.
"When you get to the point that taxpayer-funded entities are having to comply with personal religious beliefs rather than letting people do their job you're going down a road that does not end in a good place," Gordon said. "If people don't want to be treated, they can go find their own practitioner."
The clinic in question closed on June 30 as the result of budget cuts and thus far the city has declined comment.
(H/T: The Detroit News)