Fed Suit: Health Care Firm Forced Employees To Pray, Say ‘I Love You’

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Nearly three-quarters (72 percent) of the American public says religion is influence in the U.S. as a divide between the religiously affiliated and those without religion continue to widen.  (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

Nearly three-quarters (72 percent) of the American public says religion is influence in the U.S. as a divide between the religiously affiliated and those without religion continue to widen. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

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MINEOLA, N.Y. (AP) — A federal agency says a New York healthcare firm forced employees to join prayer circles, thank God for having jobs and say “I love you” to co-workers and managers.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed a discrimination lawsuit Wednesday against United Health Programs of America and its parent company, Cost Containment Group.

The EEOC says the Long Island company required employees to practice a belief system called “Onionhead.” It includes praying, discussing personal matters with colleagues and reading spiritual texts.

The agency says employees who objected were disciplined or terminated. It’s asking a judge to stop the practices and ensure employees receive back pay and other compensation.

The companies did not immediately respond to a telephone message.

(© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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