Doctor, Preacher sues Georgia for religious discrimination

A renowned public health physician who also serves as a Lay Minister said he was fired over his religious beliefs and is now suing The Georgia Department of Public Health.

First Liberty, a nationwide law firm defending religious liberty received the write to sue letter from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and filed the lawsuit against the State Department of Public Health.

"He was terminated not for anything he said on his job and not for anything he did on his job, he was terminated because of what he said in his sermons," said Jeremy Dys, Senior Counsel with First Liberty Institute.

In the lawsuit Dr. Walsh's attorneys said The Seventh Day Adventist Lay Minister was terminated for sermons he delivered ranging on issues of sexuality, marriage, science and politics.

Dr. Walsh said after he was offered the Georgia Director of Public Health position for the Northeast Region, the department asked to view his sermons. Dr. Walsh claims after watching those sermons, health department officials changed their minds.

"I realized it was more than a rescinding of the job, it was the rescinding of my career," said Dr. Walsh in an interview with FOX 5's Nathalie Pozo in September 2014.

A spokesperson for the Georgia Department of Public Health said in an email to FOX Five that during the background check process, DPH learned Dr. Walsh failed to disclose outside employment to his previous public health employer, which according to DPH is a violation of their policy and California law.

A statement reads in part: "Due to violation of both California state law and DPH policy, the offer to Dr. Walsh was rescinded. During his interview, Dr. Walsh disclosed his religious beliefs to DPH staff and indicated that he preached at his church in California. Dr. Walsh's religious beliefs had nothing to do with the decision to withdraw the offer."

Dr. Walsh was the Director of Public Health for the City of Pasadena as well as the Health Officer for the Pasadena Public Health Department.

In the lawsuit Dr. Walsh seeks job reinstatement, damages for lost earnings, and compensatory damages along with other reliefs.