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Wyoming firm settles religious discrimination suit

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CASPER, Wyo. (AP) - A Wyoming company has settled a federal lawsuit by a former employee who claimed she was pressured to take Scientology courses as a condition of her employment.

Julie A. Rohrbacher filed the lawsuit in 2018 against Teton Therapy, which operates physical and occupational therapy offices in four Wyoming locations.

Rohrbacher claimed that owner Jeff McMenamy declined to promote her and then forced her to resign in 2013 after she refused to enroll in Church of Scientology courses.

She sued under the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits religious harassment and discrimination at work.

The suit was settled on Jan. 2, and Chief U.S. District Judge Scott Skavdahl dismissed the case, the Casper Star-Tribune reports. Settlement terms weren't disclosed.

Scientology is a church founded by science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard in the early 1950s. The church has about 10 million members worldwide.

Steven Murray, an attorney for Rohrbacher, declined to comment on the settlement.

Teton Therapy owner Jeff McMenamy told the Star-Tribune on Monday that he used work training for business purposes and doesn't practice the religion.

"I have no intention of using any type of Scientology practices in my business," McMenamy said.

Court documents state that Rohrbacher, who worked at an office in Lander, was told to study a training manual that included quotations by Hubbard.

Rohrbacher also was required to participate in training in which McMenamy and other participants yelled "derogatory remarks" at each other to try to prompt a reaction, the documents state.

Rohrbacher alleged in one court filing that she was offered a promotion only if she agreed to attend a Scientology-based training course at the church's spiritual headquarters in Clearwater, Florida. She refused.

In December, Skavdahl dismissed one claim of religious harassment but allowed a claim of religious discrimination to proceed.

Article Topic Follows: Wyoming

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