OKLAHOMA CITY - The Oklahoma Attorney General has learned through news reports and numerous contacts from employees that Ascension has violated the Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) granted on November 12, 2021 by the Tulsa County District Court. Today, Attorney General O’Connor issued a cease and desist letter to Ascension demanding that Ascension: 1) immediately cease and desist its defiance of the Court’s TRO and allow the Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office time to investigate the allegations of religious discrimination currently pending with the Office of Civil Rights Enforcement; 2) immediately reinstate all suspended or terminated employees who filed for a religious exemption; and 3) immediately put these employees back to work by placing them on their normal work schedule.
"The TRO remains in effect until dissolved or modified by the appropriate court," said O'Connor. "Under the TRO entered by the Court, Ascension is required to rescind all such suspensions, terminations, or other adverse actions that occurred prior to November 12, 2021 and must allow all Oklahoma employees an additional thirty (30) days to submit requests for religious accommodations."
“It appears that Ascension is determined to trample on the sincerely held religious beliefs of the healthcare heroes it employs despite the Court’s clear mandate,” noted Attorney General O’Connor. “Ascension employees who are suspended in violation of the Court’s order simply want to be able to continue working with the same accommodations as those who have received medical exemptions.”
Although we hope that Ascension reverses its position, we are ready to take appropriate action in court to enforce the terms of the TRO so that all employees can report to work as the Court ordered.