Ex-employee sues RiverWoods over prayer



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RiverWoods at Exeter fired its lead concierge because she was praying with one of the residents in her room, according to a lawsuit filed against the private retirement community. Vicki Greene of Chester said that she was fired in June 2005 after she had prayed with a female resident who was not feeling well enough to come to meals. Greene said she had prayed with the resident two times before, but this time the resident’s daughter came in while Greene was kneeling by the bedside and complained, according to the complaint. Two weeks later, Greene received a termination notice, saying that her actions “clearly violate RiverWoods’ policies regarding the boundaries that must be kept between residents and staff,” the lawsuit says. Greene’s attorneys argue that praying with the residents was consistent with her job description of “ensuring that the needs of the residents are met” and showing “compassion for the aging.” The termination letter also referenced an unlabeled pill by the resident’s bed. Greene claims she had no idea how it got there. The suit alleges the facility discriminated against Greene because it would not accommodate her Baptist faith and asks for unspecified damages. The suit was filed in Rockingham County Superior Court last month and moved to federal court last week. RiverWoods “strenuously denies any allegations of religious discrimination,” said Thomas Closson, an Exeter attorney who represents the retirement community. He declined to comment further. - BOB SANDERS

 

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