A Tennessee-based health care provider will pay $75,000 to settle a religious discrimination lawsuit involving an Apostolic Pentecostal nurse who wanted to wear a “scrub skirt” to work. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said the company denied the nurse’s right to religious accommodation.
Wellpath LLC hired Christian nurse Malinda Babineaux in 2019 to provide health services at Central Texas Correctional Facility in San Antonio. After accepting the Texas job offer, Babineaux informed the company’s human resources team that her religious beliefs required her to wear a scrub skirt, rather than traditional scrub pants, to work in accordance with modesty codes. The company declined to accommodate her request and rescinded her job offer. According to the lawsuit, Babineaux had previously worn scrub skirts in other nursing positions.
Scrub skirts, while rarely seen in American hospitals, are preferred by some religious women, typically for modesty reasons. In a 2010 post on the nursing forum website Allnurses.com, a woman introduced herself as “a Pentecostal woman, who wears skirts instead of pants for religious reasons,” and asked, “Is it okay for me to wear scrub skirts in a clinical setting?”