Chicago Dentist Hit with $462K Fine in EEOC Discrimination Case

January 16, 2009 ( - A Chicago dentist accused of sexual and religious discrimination involving 18 employees has agreed to pay $462,500 to settle a government lawsuit over the matter.

TheU.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced the settlement with Dr. James L. Orrington in a Friday news release.

According to the announcement, Orrington was accused of subjecting the workers to sexual harassment, including sexual propositions, comments and touching; forcing them to engage in Scientology religious practices and learn about Scientology as conditions of their employment; and/or retaliating against employees who complained about the sexual or religious harassment.

In addition to requiring that Orrington pay the fine, the three-year agreement resolving the case prohibits Orrington from engaging in sexual or religious discrimination and his company from conditioning any terms or conditions of employment on complying with the religious teachings or practices of Scientology or attending seminars regarding Scientology.

The consent decree also requires that Orrington contract with an outside representative to receive and investigate complaints of sexual discrimination and religious discrimination and take other steps.

“The misconduct here was shameful – combining sex, forced Scientology, and putting people’s jobs on the line – and it was especially shameful because the person doing it was a medical professional who occupied a position of trust in his community. Having the decree remain in effect for three years will let us be certain we really have put a stop to these illegal practices,” said John Hendrickson, EEOC regional attorney in Chicago, in the announcement.