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Medical Technician Fired for Religious Beliefs

 

Stephanie Adamson was an emergency medical technician (EMT) with Superior Ambulance Service in Chicago, Illinois.  On August 21, 2003, Stephanie and her partner were dispatched to Mt. Sinai Hospital in order to transport a patient to a Chicago clinic where the patient was to have an abortion.  When the dispatch first came through, Stephanie, who is pro-life, was concerned about being asked to participate in a procedure she thought would jeopardize her deeply-held religious and moral convictions.  Stephanie decided to obtain further facts about the situation when she arrived at the hospital.

When Stephanie arrived at the hospital, she saw an ultrasound of the unborn baby and confirmed that the reason for the transport was so the patient could abort her child.  Stephanie also confirmed that the transport did not involve an emergency situation.

Stephanie promptly called into the dispatch office and informed the dispatcher that she could not take this call; that to do so would undermine her pro-life beliefs.  The dispatcher immediately called in another ambulance, which arrived within minutes, and eventually connected Stephanie with her supervisor, Dave Curtis.

Curtis, who understood that Stephanie was refusing to take the call because of her moral convictions, fired Stephanie then and there, without attempting to accommodate Stephanie's beliefs.

Depositions taken of several Superior Ambulance employees have both confirmed and uncovered many important facts: (1) the transport was not an emergency call; (2) Superior Ambulance drivers in the past have requested that calls be assigned to other drivers for far less important reasons; and (3) none of the Superior Ambulance employees who have been deposed recalls ever dispatching, taking, or even hearing of, a call to transport a patient to have an abortion.

The lawsuit contends that Superior Ambulance Services violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Illinois Health Care Right of Conscience Act. The suit requests a jury trial and is seeking damages for loss of income and benefits, as well as compensatory and punitive damages.


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