A Nebraskan company will now pay $82,500 after denying a job to a man because he was not Christian enough.
Edward Wolfe applied for the “operations supervisor” position at Voss Lighting in Tulsa, Oklahoma. During the interview process, he was allegedly questioned at length regarding his religious beliefs.
He was asked to identify every church he attended over the past several years, where and when he was “saved” and the circumstances that led him to “find Christ.”
Patheos reports that the lawsuit recounts an alleged conversation where one of the managers told Wolfe that the majority of Voss’s employees were Southern Baptist, “but that it wasn’t required that you go to a Southern Baptist Church. As long as you were a ‘born-again’ Christian, it didn’t matter what church you attended.”
The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission took up the case in defending Wolfe and were able litigate a settle in favor for their client.
The settlement states:
In addition to the $82,500 payment to Wolfe, the consent decree settling the suit also requires Voss Lighting to undertake company-wide actions designed to prevent future religious discrimination, including the posting of an EEOC notice specifically prohibiting employment discrimination on the basis of religion at its various locations spanning 12 states, re-dissemination of anti-discrimination policies; periodic reporting to the EEOC of specified hiring information; religion-neutral job advertising; and the training of management on religious discrimination
“Refusing to hire a qualified job applicant because his religious beliefs do not comport with those of the employer’s leadership is illegal, even if the for-profit company purports to have a religious mission or purpose,” said Barbara A. Seely, regional attorney of the EEOC’s St. Louis District Office. “The evidence in this case suggested widespread religious discrimination throughout the company, not just its Oklahoma locations. The EEOC is optimistic that the corporate-wide remedial actions agreed to by Voss Lighting will put an end to the role religion plays in its decisions affecting applicants and employees. If not, we will be back in court again.”