MI Physician Assistant Fired Over Survey

MI Physician Assistant Fired Over Survey

Christian physician assistant Valerie Kloosterman has filed suit against University of Michigan Health after losing her job due to her response to questions about gender pronouns and gender reassignment surgery. She is represented by First Liberty Institute.

“They asked me very specifically, ‘Will you use preferred pronouns, and will you refer for gender surgery?’ I said, ‘I can’t do that,’” Kloosterman told CBN News. She claimed one supervisor said she was evil and cited her disagreement with radical gender ideology as the cause of suicides of people suffering with gender confusion. The supervisor prohibited Kloosterman from bringing her Bible or sharing her faith at work. Kloosterman was eventually terminated for her beliefs.

According to Kloosterman’s attorney Kayla Toney, no patient had ever asked the physician assistant to use preferred pronouns or for gender reassessment or drug referrals—“This was all hypothetical.” Kloosterman had worked in the hospital for 17 years and received glowing reviews and feedback from supervisors.

In summer of 2021, after a mandatory training on diversity and inclusion, Kloosterman was given the mandatory online survey. Kloosterman said that she had been given an ultimatum before the training and survey that if she did not complete it, she risked termination. The survey primarily contained questions to ensure employees understood HIPAA, emergency protocols, roles within administration, et cetera.

However, one question gave Kloosterman pause: a true-or-false question regarding whether gender is “fluid.” “The main point of the question was stating that gender is fluid,” she told First Liberty. “There was no place for me to just simply state … that this would have been compromising my faith.”

She raised her questions to her supervisor and office manager, who pointed her to the department of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). “It should have been welcoming,” she said, “and all the other statements that they had stated that they were inclusive, and that should include Christians.” Kloosterman met with the DEI director as well as the human resources director, the physician assistant council member and a member of the DEI.

In the meeting, Kloosterman was called “evil” and a “liar.” “They also told me that I could not bring my Christian faith with me to the office either literally or figuratively,” she said. It ultimately led to her termination.

First Liberty argues that Kloosterman is protected under the First Amendment, which protects freedom of speech and free exercise of religion, as well as Title VII—a Federal law that protects employees from discrimination, in which religion is listed as a protected class. According to Toney, Kloosterman’s clinic accommodated a male physician who did not want to perform exams on females, as well as doctors who did not want to prescribe narcotics. “The university had an obligation to give [Kloosterman] a religious accommodation,” Toney said.

According to CBN, five states have already passed medical conscience protections due to cases like Kloosterman’s, and more will consider the matter in the coming year.

“Nobody should abandon their faith,” Kloosterman said. “We need to be emboldened. This was not an easy decision for our family, but … may the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart just simply be pleasing to God, and may God be glorified in what happens.”

Photo: First Liberty Institute

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