A federal agency says a New York health care 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.
Onionhead was created by a family member of the company owner, according to the lawsuit filed by EEOC.
Employees were told wear Onionhead buttons, place Onionhead cards near their work stations and keep only dim lighting in the workplace, the lawsuit said.
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.
In a statement, the companies said they were "caring, family-oriented businesses" and called the lawsuit "meritless."