LOS ANGELES, CA — (10-17-22) — Former Bright Horizons’ childcare teacher, Nelli Parisenkova, sues her former employer after allegedly being terminated for refusing to read books to children that featured same-sex couples. She is being represented by the conservative Roman Catholic public-interest law firm of Thomas More Society.

According to the complaint filed last Thursday in the Superior Court of California, Nelli Parisenkova, says that she worked at Bright Horizons Children’s Center in Studio City four years straight and cared for children aged five and younger.

The lawsuit even admits that Parisenkova was well aware of LGBT-themed material at the Studio City location of the largest childcare company that has hundreds of locations worldwide and employs more than 26,000 people.

She then alleges that she was not required to read the LGBT-themed books to children but that changed changed in April when Katy Callas, director of the Bright Horizons Studio City location, learned of Parisenkova’s religious objections to the LGBT-themed books.

According to the complaint, Callas refused Parisenkova’s request for a religious accommodation and allegedly created a hostile work environment that led to her termination.

Parisenkova’s attorneys state in the complaint that she is a “a devout Christian,” and reading such books to children “would violate her religious beliefs and constitute promotion of intimate relationships and choices that are contrary to the teachings of her faith.”

“Parisenkova formally requested a religious accommodation from Bright Horizons that aligned with her prior informally granted request. Bright Horizons responded by categorically denying the request,” the suit said, which goes on to claim Bright Horizons “made no attempt whatsoever to determine whether a reasonable accommodation could be reached.”

“Instead, Bright Horizons issued a counseling memo with false statements, terminated her life insurance benefits, required her to complete retraining in diversity issues, and encouraged her to resign her position,” the suit alleged. “Ms. Parisenkova could not return to work without an accommodation; so, Bright Horizons terminated her employment.”

Paul Jonna, special counsel at the Thomas More Society and one of Parisenovka’s attorneys, says that her case is “an outrageous example of religious discrimination.”

The complaint alleges that Bright Horizons and its staff engaged in unlawful retaliation, failure to prevent discrimination and harassment, religion-based harassment, wrongful termination, failure to accommodate, unlawful constructive discharge and disparate treatment.

Review the Complaint of Nelli Parisenkova v Bright Horizons Children’s Center LLC

Bright Horizons is well known for its support for the LGBT community. In 2019, the organization also endorsed the Equality Act, which would add sexual orientation and gender identity to federal antidiscrimination policy.

Article by: Paul Goldberg, Staff Writer

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