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A Michigan Christian who worked for 17 years as a medical assistant for Michigan Health filed a lawsuit against her former employer last week after they allegedly fired her because of her “honest religious beliefs” regarding sex.

“I am heartbroken,” Valerie Kloosterman told Fox News Digital. “I spent 17 years with patients and families, colleagues who sometimes I spent more time with than with my own family. And they took that away from me. They took away the relationships I had. built and the people who trusted me with their care.”

“This was something that could have easily been adapted based on the University of Michigan’s emphasis on inclusion,” Kloosterman added.

The University of Michigan Health-West (UMH-West) reportedly fired Kloosterman in 2021 after seeking a religious accommodation that would exempt him from having to use transgender pronouns or refer patients for transgender surgeries and medications, which she says violates the teachings of her Christian faith. She claimed that while she was expected to say such things in theory, she had never encountered a situation with a patient that required her to do so.

TERMINATED PHYSICIAN’S ASSISTANT BY MICHIGAN HEALTH FOR RELIGIOUS BELIEFS, LAWYER SAYS ‘GRAVE INJUSTICE’

Valerie Kloosterman told Fox News Digital she was “heartbroken” to be fired after raising objections to UMH-West’s gender policies.
(First Freedom Institute)

First Liberty Institute lawyers who represent Kloosterman sent a letter to UMH-West last month asking for his reinstatement, but they filed a lawsuit against the nonprofit health care system on Oct. 11 after he failed. did not answer.

“Defendants targeted Ms. Kloosterman for termination because she requested an accommodation for her religious beliefs,” her lawyers said in the complaint. “Defendants also violated the First Amendment’s free exercise clause, as incorporated against states via the Fourteenth Amendment, when they granted secular accommodations to other employees regarding common medications and medical procedures while failing to provide religious accommodation to Ms. Kloosterman regarding many of the rarer drugs and medical procedures.”

“There was mandatory training that all employees had to go through with a slew of questions,” Kloosterman said of the initial incident that led to his dismissal.

“Two of the questions that year were very specific to confirm that the sex was fluid, and I had to tick the box. It was not an option for me to voice my concerns, and I could not finish this compulsory test without answering this question the way they wanted me to do based on the belief of the university, and so I raised my concerns,” she continued.

Kloosterman said that after reaching out to her oversight provider’s office manager with her objections, she was forwarded to UMH’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) department. West, which reportedly led to a tense reunion.

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“I said I’m a Christian, which means I’m a Christian physician assistant, and I can’t answer these questions in good conscience before God and understanding the harm it can do to my patients; this isn’t fair,” Kloosterman said of his conversation with DEI.

“The meeting turned hostile,” Kloosterman said. “I was called a bad guy. I was called a liar. good conscience before God, and I would never have been asked to compromise my faith to be able to do my job.”

UMH-West, pictured here, reportedly fired Kloosterman in 2021 after seeking a religious accommodation that would exempt him from having to affirm transgender ideology.

UMH-West, pictured here, reportedly fired Kloosterman in 2021 after seeking a religious accommodation that would exempt him from having to affirm transgender ideology.
(First Freedom Institute)

Kloosterman said she was “stunned” by the response from the organization which publicly prides itself on being inclusive, and she alleged her encounter with DEI quickly became “very personal” and that they were clearly not not interested in talking to her.

“Even when the meeting was over, I said, ‘Let’s talk about this, let’s continue this discussion,'” Kloosterman said. “I was promised they would, and I didn’t hear anything after that other than at my severance meeting.”

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Kloosterman said when she was finally fired, she said a tearful goodbye to co-workers she had known for many years and whose children had grown up with hers. She said many of her colleagues expressed their support privately, but were likely left in the dark about the reasons for her firing.

When contacted by Fox News Digital to comment on Kloosterman’s case, a UMH-West spokesperson said, “The University of Michigan Health-West is committed to providing appropriate medical treatment to all patients and respects the religious beliefs of its employees. We are satisfied that Ms. Kloosterman’s claims, such as those she filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, are without merit.”

A protester holds the trans flag and waves in solidarity with other speakers during a protest at the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus on June 25, 2021.

A protester holds the trans flag and waves in solidarity with other speakers during a protest at the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus on June 25, 2021.
(Stephen Zenner/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Kloosterman said she was particularly hurt by how UMH-West allegedly took a hypothetical situation and twisted it to misrepresent its position against transgender proceedings as anything other than an attempt to be compassionate, to defend his religious beliefs and to fulfill his Hippocratic oath to “do no harm”. .”

“I cry less often, but the tears still come,” she said.

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Kloosterman said that although her Christian faith has been tested by her ordeal, it remains strong.

“I just pray that the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart will be pleasing to God, that God will be glorified in this and that his truth will be heard,” she said. “No one has to compromise their faith for their work.”

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