Dentist Faces Lawsuit for Playing Christian Music in Office
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Four former dental employees are suing a Michigan dentist for alleged religious discrimination because she played Christian music and held prayer meetings at her dental office.
Dr. Tina Marshall in Lake Orion, Michigan, has been accused of either firing or reprimanding these former employees when they objected to the religious practices.
Kimberly Hinson, Nancy Kordus, Tammy Kulis, and Sara Bambard filed the lawsuit in August 2015, according to The Washinton Post.
Kordus told Clarkson News, "We were all on edge. We were trying to be nice to the patients and do good dental work, but she kept forcing the music and her beliefs on us. Several patients questioned the music, and I turned it off and turned on the TV. So I was 'disobedient.'"
But Marshall explains that the atmosphere was "soothing" and that patients made positive comments about the music.
"Playing the Christian music is just to keep God on your mind. It's just soothing to the spirit," she told Clarkston News.
"I can't tell you how many patients I have come in and just make comments that it is so calm in here. They're like, 'I'm at a dentist office. This is weird.' And we just smile," she said.
But some of her employees were unhappy with being subjected to the music and now they seek damages for "past and future income and employment benefits, outrage, humiliation, embarrassment, mental anxiety, emotional distress, and loss of professional reputation."
"I told her I did not think it was right to play the music all the time, as we had a wide range of religious beliefs as patients," Kordus said in a statement. "She told me 'you have to plant the seeds' and the music had to be played 24/7 even if no one was in the building 'to keep the demons out.'"
The complaint against Marshall also claims that she made employees pray during a morning prayer meeting. Her former employees say that the meetings started out as optional but soon became mandatory.
Marshall denies the allegations and says no one was required to pray with her.
Marshall's attorney, Keith Jablonski told The Washington Post that she is "being attacked in this lawsuit for her Christian belief based solely on her desire to play religious music and radio stations in the dental office of the business that she owns."
"We believe that when the facts, and not baseless allegations, are presented to a jury, we will establish that this group of former disgruntled employees are simply looking to profit off of their own prejudices towards Dr. Marshall and her Christian faith," he added.
Lawyers for the four plaintiffs told The Washington Post on Wednesday that the case is still in the discovery phase. They have requested a jury trial, which could begin in the summer.
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