Another Stereotype of the Month entry:
Posted on Thu, May. 16, 2002
Federal court upholds discrimination award to Blue Springs ex-employee
By ERIK PETERSEN
The Kansas City Star
Religious discrimination led a woman with American Indian beliefs to leave her job at Blue Springs' Youth Outreach Unit, the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed Wednesday.
The court upheld an April 2001 decision awarding $79,200 to Cheryl Campos, who left the police department in 1997 and filed suit, claiming that her supervisor, Youth Outreach Unit director P.J. Petrillo, made working conditions unbearable.
Blue Springs could appeal, said Brandon Mizner, an attorney who helped represent the city. The city has two weeks from Wednesday to decide.
"We're disappointed in the 8th Circuit's decision," he said. "Prior to it getting to this point, a large part of her case has been thrown out."
Campos alleged that Petrillo's attitude toward her changed when Campos revealed her religious beliefs. Petrillo made comments, including one that Campos should find a Christian boyfriend to teach her to be submissive, Campos alleged.
Campos also alleged that she was excluded from employee meetings, including some where workers talked about changing the Youth Outreach Unit to a Christian counseling group. She claimed she was falsely accused of mistakes and did not receive a promised promotion and extra compensation.
During her employment, court documents noted, Campos did not attain the advanced psychology or social work degree she was told she eventually would need.
The city of Blue Springs appealed partly on grounds that Campos presented insufficient evidence. The city also cited alleged problems with jury instructions and Campos' attorney's closing arguments.
The stereotype here is that Christianity is somehow better, more real, more true than Native or other religions. It isn't.
"Primitive" Indian religion
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