HARTFORD (CN) – A nurse’s aide who is a Jehovah’s Witness claims Wintonbury Care Center fired her after 26 years because she refused orders to help patients smoke cigarettes. In her federal claim, Cora McIntosh says it violates her religion to help others do harm to their bodies, and though Wintonbury accommodates others’ religious beliefs, by allowing them to take Sundays off, it refused to accommodate hers.
McIntosh, a nurse’s aide for Wintonbury since 1981, says the Bloomfield, Ct. health care center changed its smoking policy in 2004 and ordered her to spend three 15-minute breaks a day helping patients smoke. She says she refused and was suspended for two days, then reinstated and accommodated by not having to help them smoke anymore. But a new director hired in 2007 ordered her to do it, and fired her when she refused.
She seeks back pay, front pay and punitive damages.