A federal jury found on Wednesday that the Civil Commitment Unit for Sexual Offenders in Cherokee, Iowa did not fail to accommodate the religious beliefs of psychiatric security specialist Michael Mial, who claims to have been fired for signing his emails with the valediction "In Christ".
According to the Sioux City Journal, Mial was fired in April 2016, the same day his supervisors asked him to stop using the signature in internal emails, while also claiming that his Christian faith helped his patients.
The supervisors "attempted to persuade (Mial) from his religious beliefs. On numerous occasions, they even stated that he should separate his beliefs from work or just separate his personal and professional lives", the court papers say.
Mial maintained that the firing violated the First Amendment, which guarantees religious freedom to all US citizens, and qualified as religious discrimination. He insisted that other employees were not disciplined for using personalised signature blocks such as "Go Hawkeyes" (after the University of Iowa athletic team) or "Semper-Fi" (the US Marine Corps' motto).
He was seeking compensation for lost wages, humiliation, embarrassment, and "mental anguish", but his claims were dismissed by the court.