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Published On: Tue, Feb 14th, 2017

Georgia settles religious discrimination case against Dr Eric Walsh after sermons were screened

The First Liberty Institute announced they reached a settlement agreement between the State of Georgia and First Liberty’s client, Dr. Eric Walsh. The State of Georgia agreed to pay $225,000 to settle Dr. Walsh’s religious discrimination lawsuit.

“I am grateful this trial has finally ended,” Dr. Eric Walsh says. “It’s been a long, difficult journey, but it’s worth it to have my name cleared and to ensure that all Georgia government employees know they have religious liberty.”

“This is a clear and resounding victory for religious freedom,” Jeremy Dys, Senior Counsel for First Liberty Institute and counsel for Dr. Walsh, says. “We always knew the law was on our side, so we are pleased the State of Georgia agreed to settle this case and clear Dr. Walsh’s good name.”

Dr. Eric Walsh at a press conference at the Georgia State Capitol on October 26, 2016
Photo courtesy of First Liberty Institute.

Dr. Walsh, a lay minister and former Georgia government employee, filed a lawsuit against the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) after evidenced surfaced that he had been fired because of his religious beliefs.

In May 2014, Walsh accepted a position as a District Health Director with the DPH. A week later, a DPH official asked him to submit copies of sermons he had previously preached as a lay minister with the Seventh-day Adventist Church. The day after Dr. Walsh provided his sermons to the state, the DPH terminated Dr. Walsh. In April 2016, First Liberty Institute, along with Atlanta law firm Parks, Chesin & Walbert, filed a lawsuit against the DPH on behalf of Dr. Walsh, charging the DPH with religious discrimination.

“We are grateful that the State of Georgia agreed to settle the case and acknowledge the right of their employees to express their religious beliefs,” Dys says. “No one should be fired for simply expressing his religious beliefs.”

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