Swedish/Providence Giving Gay Employees the Shaft
Found on CatholicWatch.org over the weekend.
Here’s the new language Swedish (and Providence) is now using in its employment ads:
“Swedish is proud to be an Equal Opportunity Employer and recruits a diverse, high performing workforce and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, gender, disability, military status, religion or any other protected status.”
On the surface, the first paragraph looks OK, until you remember that Washington State anti-discrimination law (which doesn’t apply to religious entities) also forbids discrimination on the basis of marital status and sexual orientation.
Before Swedish was acquired by Providence, here’s what the language in their contracts said:
“The Employer and the Union shall not discriminate against any employee by reason of race, creed, age, color, sex, national origin, citizenship, language, religious belief, marital status, sexual orientation, gender expression/identity, political ideology, ancestry, veterans status or the presence of any sensory mental or physical disability.”
In February, the WA Supreme Court ruled that religious employers here in WA are exempt from the law that protects employees on the basis of marital status or sexual orientation. Swedish now is clear that it doesn’t provide ANY protections for gay employees or for single employees who are cohabitating or who have the audacity to get pregnant while unmarried. (Most babies born to women under 30 are to unwed mothers.) In fact, anything that violates Catholic doctrine can now be considered a firing offense.
The timing of this is important especially in light of Mark Zmuda, the former vice principal of Eastside Catholic, whose case against Eastside Catholic and against the Archdiocese was greenlighted yesterday by a King County Superior Court Judge. In that case, Zmuda relied on the veracity of employee handbook and website materials that claimed Eastside Catholic did not discriminate in its employment practices on the basis of sexual orientation or marital status.
Here, Swedish is avoiding any claims that it is a nondiscriminating employer (on the basis of sexual orientation or marital status) by stripping out all such language in its employment materials.
Found on CatholicWatch.org Keeping Watch on Catholic Healthcare, over the weekend. CatholicWatch.org is a site dedicated to keeping track of happenings in the Catholic Healthcare system.