The American Civil Liberties Union of Eastern Missouri announced today via news release that it has filed a suit on behalf of a part-time librarian in Poplar Bluff, Mo., who was disciplined after she objected to participating in the promotion of a "Harry Potter" book.
The employee, Deborah Smith, had religious objections to the promotion, "which she believed encouraged children to worship the occult," according to the news release.
Library employees were expected to dress as witches and wizards at a July 21, 2007, Potter book release party at the library — an after-hours event — the release said. Smith asked to be excused from working that night due to her religious beliefs and was suspended for 10 days without pay and "suffered retaliation upon her return to work," the ACLU release states, going on to say the retaliation was so severe it forced Smith to quit.
The lawsuit was filed in district court in Cape Girardeau, and alleges that Smith's supervisor violated federal law by refusing to accommodate her "sincerely held religious beliefs," the release said.