Ex-worker sues over UM Health-West gender policies

GRAND RAPIDS, Michigan (WOOD) — Attorneys representing a fired employee from the University of Michigan’s Health West say the health care system violated her religious rights when she refused to provide referrals for surgeries and sex reassignment procedures.

Valerie Kloosterman was a physician assistant in the healthcare system for 17 years, according to her attorney, Kayla Toney.

“She is a strong Christian. She is very involved in her local church,” Toney said.

Toney alleges that her client’s first amendment rights were violated after the hospital system became part of the University of Michigan’s health care system and Kloosterman was required to complete diversity and inclusion training.

“When she asked Human Resources some questions about this training and asked for religious placement, they insulted her religious beliefs and called her ‘evil.’ They tried to pressure her to further violate her beliefs by referring patients for sex-changing surgeries and drugs,” Toney said.

According to Toney, her clients’ right to free speech was violated by the hospital systems that required the use of certain pronouns.

“Free speech is asserted because they wanted her to use pronouns that contradict human biology, and forcing her to speak those pronouns violated not only her beliefs but also her medical judgment,” Toney said .

The complaint alleges that the hospital responded that she would contribute to gender dysphoria-related suicides.

Cooley Law School professor Michael McDaniel says the physician assistant is having an uphill battle and the cases cited in the complaint are different than what happened here.

“The whole purpose of the First Amendment – whether we’re talking about the freedom of speech clause or the free (religious) practice clause – the whole purpose of the First Amendment was to ensure tolerance of others, that we didn’t just have our say come we let believe to be our truths and our beliefs, but others may do so as well and we will not punish others,” McDaniel said. “The University of Michigan Hospital apparently had a policy of admitting everyone and admitting them to the hospital.”

The hospital system declined to speak on camera but issued a statement to News 8.

“The University of Michigan Health-West is committed to providing appropriate medical care to all patients and respects the religious beliefs of its employees. Our organization does not discuss HR issues and therefore has no further comments.”

University of Michigan Health-West

https://www.woodtv.com/news/kent-county/ex-worker-sues-over-u-m-health-wests-gender-policies/ Ex-worker sues over UM Health-West gender policies

Dais Johnston

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