A member of the Jehovah’s Witnesses denomination settled a lawsuit she filed against a Lynwood hospital and an employment recruiting company, in which the social worker alleged she was wrongfully fired from her job helping coronavirus patients for complaining about religious discrimination.
Lawyers for Cossetta Stroud filed court papers with Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Terry A. Green stating that her lawsuit against St. Francis Medical Center Inc. and Burbank-based Xpert Recruiters LLC was resolved. No terms were disclosed.
The suit filed last Sept. 23 alleged religious discrimination, wrongful termination, retaliation, violation of the state Family and Medical Leave Act and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Stroud sought unspecified damages.
In their court papers, lawyers for St. Francis and Xpert Recruiters denied any wrongdoing.
Attorneys for the hospital also said St. Francis was not Stroud’s employer or joint employer, an issue disputed by the plaintiff, who said she began her job as a social worker in September 2019 and was assigned to help patients who contracted COVID-19.
The defendants sponsored stays at a nearby hotel for employees who contracted COVID-19 and Stroud, who cares for her aging and cancer-stricken mother and did not want her to get sick, reserved a room at the hotel last July 1-14, according to her court papers.
In response, one of her two supervisors asked Stroud, “Doesn’t it bother you because of your religion to make that reservation?” according to her lawsuit.
Stround found the remark unwelcome and discriminatory based on her religion and she asked the supervisor not to make any further such comments, the suit stated.
Stroud told her supervisors she wanted to take time off under the Family Medical Leave Act to care for her mother, but after making her request and complaining about religious discrimination, the defendants began retaliating against her and eventually fired her last July, the suit alleged.
According to the plaintiff, neither defendant had a policy or procedure to prevent discrimination and retaliation, leaving Stroud to endure a work environment that included both.
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