A Chicago dentist has agreed to pay $462,500 to settle federal allegations that he violated U.S. discrimination laws by sexually harassing workers and by forcing employees who wanted to keep their jobs to submit to indoctrination in the tenets of Scientology.
The Chicago office of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission had filed a civil lawsuit against James L. Orrington in September 2007, asserting he had discriminated against 18 employees by subjecting them to sexual propositions, comments and improper touching. The suit also alleged that Orrington violated federal law by requiring workers “to engage in Scientology religious practices and learn about Scientology as conditions of their employment.”
The suit, filed in Chicago federal court, also alleged that Orrington violated civil-rights law by firing or taking other retaliatory actions against some employees who had complained about his behavior.
A consent decree filed with the U.S. District court Tuesday calls for Orrington to pay $462,500 to the workers involved and enjoins him from further sexual or religious workplace discrimination.
A consent decree resolves a lawsuit, but doesn’t include an admission of guilt by the defendant.