The following comes from an Apr. 29 update from the Pacific Justice Institute.
A hospital that stirred nationwide outrage for ordering a military veteran not to say “God Bless America” in his e-mails has now implemented further restrictions.
Pacific Justice Institute represents SFC Boots Hawks (U.S. Army, Ret.), who served twenty years in the military and now works in the Quality Management office at Dameron Hospital in Stockton, where he has been recognized with such distinctions as Employee of the Year. In November, 2013, SFC Hawks was told by a supervisor to remove the phrase “God Bless America” as one of three quotes in his e-mail signature block. A supervisor was concerned that someone might be offended by the phrase and suggested it was equivalent to an employee saying, “Death to Christians.”
SFC Hawks complied with the directive but was placed on two days’ leave for “insubordination” when he said he wanted to seek legal counsel. As a result, SFC Hawks spent Veterans’ Day suspended from his job and worried about his future, instead of being honored for his distinguished military service.
After receiving a letter from Pacific Justice attorney Matthew McReynolds, the hospital withdrew the charge of insubordination and changed the two days’ leave to paid leave. The hospital nevertheless continued to insist that SFC Hawks not say, “God Bless America.”
After Hawks’ attorneys obtained and served the hospital with right-to-sue notices from the federal and state agencies that oversee workplace discrimination complaints, the hospital informed employees in March that it had instituted a new policy that a standardized signature block must be used by all employees, without deviation.
The president of Pacific Justice Institute, Brad Dacus, had the following comment on the new developments: “It is astounding that Dameron Hospital believes it should respond to charges of illegal discrimination and censorship with even more censorship….”
Anyone who may wish to politely express their concerns to Dameron Hospital about its silencing of “God Bless America” and unwillingness to apologize to SFC Hawks may do so via the following: firstname.lastname@example.org or Dameron Hospital’s “Contact Us” Page.
Watch video of Boots Hawks talking about his ordeal.