Michelle Massey, East Texas Bureau May. 2, 2011, 11:28am
TYLER - An East Texas resident has filed a religious discrimination lawsuit against her employer after she lost her job for allegedly threatening others with a voodoo curse.
Victoria Vaughan filed suit against Texas Health and Human Services Commission and Executive Commissioner Thomas Suehs on April 20 in the Eastern District of Texas, Tyler Division.
Vaughan began working for the defendant in June of 2009 as a Texas Works Advisor II, with her job focused on determining eligibility of citizens for state assistance.
In April 2010, Vaughan states her "deeply held religious beliefs" came up in conversation with her immediate supervisor. The lawsuit does not indicate what religion Vaughan practices, but according to the court documents, the supervisor said that she felt threatened by Vaughan's religious beliefs and claimed those religious practices posed a threat to co-workers.
A few days after learning about Vaughan's religion, her supervisor terminated her. The supervisor wrote in Vaughan's personnel files that Vaughan had threatened others with a voodoo curse. Vaughan states that this is a "mischaracterization of events."
In addition, the suit claims the supervisor "told others that she terminated Plaintiff because of her religion."
The defendant is accused of religious discrimination and retaliation in violation of Vaughan's civil rights.
The plaintiff is seeking an award of damages for mental trauma, lost wages, benefits, compensatory damages, punitive damages, interest, court costs and attorney's fees.
Vaughan is represented by Robert Lee and Carmen Artaza of Lee & Braziel in Dallas.
U.S. District Judge Leonard E. Davis is assigned to the case.
Case No. 6:11-cv-00199