Former Shrine employee sues for racial and religious discrimination

By Steve Gonzalez | Nov 3, 2005

The Missionary Association of Mary Immaculate, the Oblate Service Corporation and the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows were sued in U.S. District Court in the Southern District of Illinois on Oct. 31 by a former employee claiming unlawful termination based on race and religion.

Aritha Stanley-Adams, an administrative assistant, claims she was abruptly fired Nov. 16, 2004, without cause. She had worked at the Shrine since October 1978, and was not a practicing Catholic.

“Stanley-Adams' position was eliminated as a pretext to cover up the defendants’ true intentions and purposes which were to eliminate one of the few black employees and to eliminate an employee who was not of the Catholic faith,” the complaint states.

Stanley-Adams claims she was not offered any other positions by the defendants even though other positions were available which she was qualified to fill and perform.

“Defendants chose to terminate plaintiff and not one or more of its white employees, who were less qualified than the plaintiff,” the complaint states.

Stanley Adams also claims her employer eliminated her because older employees earned higher wages and benefits than younger ones.

She is seeking an injunction ordering the defendants to reinstate her to her former job or equivalent position. In lieu of reinstatement, she is seeking an award of front pay, consequential and compensatory damages for the loss of wages and other benefits, punitive damages for the unlawful and discriminatory actions against her, and any other relief the court deems fit.

Stanley-Adams is represented by Robert Merriwether of East St. Louis. The case has been assigned to District Judge Patrick Murphy.


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