Evangelical Community Hospital seeks to dismiss Jehovah's Witness' discrimination lawsuit

By Chandra Lye | Oct 26, 2018

HARRISBURG - Evangelical Community Hospital has filed a motion to dismiss a complaint filed against it by an employee who claims she was discriminated against based on her gender and religious beliefs.

Shannon Anspach filed a lawsuit against the hospital and employees Mike Bastian and Howie Mast. 

However, the hospital on Oct. 8 filed a motion to dismiss the complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania. The motion cites a “failure to state claims upon which relief may be granted,” according to the court filing.

In her filing, Anspach brought four counts forward including hostile work environment, sex discrimination and religious discrimination. Anspach claims that she was discriminated against for being a woman and a Jehovah’s Witness.

She began work as an EMT with the organization in 2004. Both Bastian and Mast were also employees of the organization at the same time. However, she claims the discrimination began in 2012.

“Because of Plaintiff’s sex and religion, Defendants held plaintiff to a stricter and more demanding job responsibilities,” her complaint says. She also claims that “Defendants leveled harsher sanctions against Plaintiff than other employees.”

Anspach claims she was unfairly criticized on the job and was passed over for raises due to her sex and religion.

In June 2012, she filed a complaint with the organization against Mast alleging he told her he hated Amish people because they “kill their children.”

She also filed complaints against Bastian after he allegedly threatened to hit her and told her she could not change the coolant in the truck because she was a woman. Her court filing notes the organization did not take any disciplinary action against him.

Complaints have also been filed with the Pennsylvania Human Rights Commission and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Anspach claims to have suffered emotional distress, pain and suffering, mental anguish and physical manifestations of her stress, among other injuries. A jury trial has been requested. 

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