Valerie Kloosterman (Courtesy First Liberty Institute)

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By Laurel Duggan
Daily Caller News Foundation

A physician assistant is suing University of Michigan Health – West for allegedly violating her civil rights in firing her after she requested religious accommodations for her objections to certain transgender-related procedures, according to the lawsuit.

Valerie Kloosterman is a third-generation employee of Michigan Health, following her mother and grandmother, but she was terminated in 2021 about a month after she objected to using transgender patients’ preferred pronouns and referring them for cross-sex surgeries following a diversity training, according to a press release from her attorneys. After her initial objections, a diversity representative allegedly called Kloosterman “evil,” blamed her for the suicides of transgender people and told her she couldn’t bring her faith or the Bible into her work.

Kloosterman had worked at Michigan Health for 17 years, where she received glowing reviews from her supervisors and was treated well until the medical center imposed a mandatory diversity training program, the lawsuit alleges.

Michigan Health allegedly violated the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by firing Kloosterman for her religious beliefs and refusing to provide a religious accommodation while providing nonreligious accommodations to other employees, according to First Liberty Institute, a nonprofit legal group focused on religious liberty that’s providing legal aid to Kloosterman. The attorneys also accused Michigan Health of violating the First and Fourteenth Amendments through “open hostility” to Kloosterman’s religious beliefs, compelling her to speak certain pronouns and refusing to grant religious accommodations while agreeing to secular accommodations.

“Because Valerie wouldn’t violate her conscience, Michigan Health violated her rights and ended her employment,” Kayla Toney, Counsel for First Liberty Institute, said in a statement shared with the Daily Caller News Foundation. “It is blatantly intolerant of Michigan Health to demand that medical professionals like Valerie abandon their religious beliefs in order to remain employed. Valerie loves her community and her job. She is devastated that the University of Michigan health system derided her beliefs and demanded that she choose between her faith and providing health care.”

Michigan Health did not respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.

This story originally was published by the Daily Caller News Foundation.

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