BEND, Ore. -- A Bend dentist has been ordered to pay nearly $350,000 to a former employee for pressuring her to attend a Scientology-affiliated training symposium.

Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian says the dental hygienist objected because attending would conflict with her Christian beliefs, the dentist threatened to fire her, and she quit. Avakian said she was hounded out of the job in a case of religious discrimination.

The Bend Bulletin reports the employee, Susan Muhleman, has moved to Texas.

The paper reported that Dr. Andrew Engel said at a hearing he didn't violate the law or discriminate against her. He didn't immediately answer an email request Friday for comment.

Avakian said in a statement the award covers lost wages and health benefits, expenses for her move to find work, and emotional distress.

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