A Texas man is suing his former employer for firing him because he refused to print verses from the Christian Bible in the tech company’s daily newsletter.
According to Courthouse News Service, Jef Mindrup — who identifies as Buddhist — is suing Goodman Networks in federal court on the grounds that he was asked to violate his “sincerely held religious beliefs” by printing the verses and was then fired for refusing to do so.
Mindrup, an eight-year veteran of the wireless service company, was director of marketing communications and as such, was required to write up a daily company newsletter called “The Morning Coffee,” a duty that he had faithfully discharged for six years, his suit said.
In March of 2012, company co-founder Jody Goodman informed Mindrup that she wanted him to print Bible verses in the newsletter and that he should start with the next morning’s bulletin.
Mindrup said in the suit that he responded the next day via email, saying, “Jody, I am unable to add quotes or scriptures from the Bible as you’ve requested. I have always taken great care to avoid any quotes that would offend others as well as my own personal religious beliefs.”
“I respect your beliefs,” Goodman replied.
However, the suit alleges, “on the following day, in an after-hours telephone call, plaintiff was fired by defendant for his refusal to include the Bible verses in The Morning Coffee. He was fired without any warning or progressive discipline.”
When Mindrup took the matter to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the company told the board that Mindrup had been terminated as part of a “pre-planned and well-thought out reduction in force.”
Mindrup’s complaint says that’s bunk.
“Defendant’s reason was a pretext in an effort to cover up defendant’s illegal discrimination,” read the suit. “Defendant’s unlawful conduct…included failing to accommodate plaintiff on the basis of his religion by requiring him to proselytize the Christian religion, a religion other than his own.”
The former Goodman Networks employee is suing the company for lost wages, damages for Title VII discrimination and punitive damages for pain and suffering.
David Ferguson is an editor at Raw Story. He was previously writer and radio producer in Athens, Georgia, hosting two shows for Georgia Public Broadcasting and blogging at Firedoglake.com and elsewhere. He is currently working on a book.
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