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Minneapolis settles lawsuit over wrongful termination of Christian psychologist

City of Minneapolis severed relationship with psychologist after learning of affiliation with pro-family organization

MINNEAPOLIS — A Christian psychologist represented by the Alliance Defense Fund has agreed to a substantial settlement from the city of Minneapolis after it unconstitutionally terminated its relationship with him because he had ties to a pro-family organization. The Minneapolis City Council approved the settlement on Friday.

ADF attorneys filed the lawsuit Campion v. City of Minneapolis in September 2007. The city “suspended” Dr. Michael Campion, a psychologist who performed employment testing for the city, shortly after city officials learned of his affiliation with a conservative Christian organization, the Illinois Family Institute.

“This settlement reinforces that the government shouldn’t penalize Christian contractors for their beliefs,” said ADF Litigation Staff Counsel Jim Campbell, who argued the case on behalf of Campion last year in federal district court. “The court had already issued a decision finding that the City of Minneapolis removed Dr. Campion because of his constitutionally protected involvement with a Christian organization and noting that his ‘First Amendment interests appear to be strong.’ The city realized that it would likely lose this case and wisely decided to settle out of court.”

Under the terms of the settlement, approved by the city on Friday, Campion will receive $210,000 in damages. ADF represented Campion free of charge.

After learning that Campion was affiliated with the Illinois Family Institute, the city hired an independent psychological testing company to evaluate him in July 2006. Although the results showed no evidence that his work was flawed or biased, the city disregarded the analysis and terminated its relationship with him.

Campion’s subsequent bid for the city’s psychological testing work was denied in favor of a less-experienced and more expensive contractor, even though the psychological testing company assessed him as performing beyond expectation and as being “clearly an expert in this line of work.”

“Officials for the city of Minneapolis should base their contracting decisions on experience and qualifications, not on their disagreement with pro-family beliefs,” said ADF Senior Counsel Brian Raum. “Terminating their relationship with Dr. Campion despite his tried and proven track record was simply not justifiable.”

  • Pronunciation guide: Campion (Campy-un), Raum (Rom)

ADF is a legal alliance of Christian attorneys and like-minded organizations defending the right of people to freely live out their faith. Launched in 1994, ADF employs a unique combination of strategy, training, funding, and litigation to protect and preserve religious liberty, the sanctity of life, marriage, and the family.