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After 40 years of having operated there, in November 2016, the SALVATION ARMY and its local volunteer BELLRINGERS were thrown off United States Post Office property by the new Postmaster of the Paso Robles, California Post Office after the Jehovah's Witnesses at the Paso Robles Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses filed a complaint of discrimination claiming that they previously had been denied space on the same front steps of the Paso Robles Post Office so that they could erect a WATCHTOWER CULT LITERATURE STAND.

That's exactly the public relations bonanza needed by the United States Postal Service -- a grossly overpaid bureaucracy of halfwits and social misfits who somehow manage to regularly screw up the simplest task of placing letters and parcels in the correct slot. Our guess is that posting a photograph of the 2016 Paso Robles postmaster and staff alongside a photograph of the 1976 Paso Robles postmaster and staff would likely answer the question of how such an abundance of STUPIDITY and INCOMPETENCE could flourish in only 40 years.

Ciara Berry, age 13, of Berry Brow, England, is currently being investigated by the West Yorkshire Police for the crime of singing a Christmas Carol. In October 2022, while walking to school, Ciara Berry and a few of her friends happened on a known Jehovah's Witness Minister. For whatever reason, the group of young teens began singing, "The 12 Days of Christmas". The yet-to-be identified Jehovah's Witness Minister first threatened the singing youths, and thereafter actually did report the singing youths to the local police department for the crime of "religious hatred". Someone needs to charge this media-protected unidentified Jehovah's Witness Minister with being the "World's Biggest A$$hole". However, he will have 9 million competitors for that title.


TUWANNA SUE STEVENS v. ELIOR INC was a 2022-23 North Carolina federal employment discrimination lawsuit that was quickly DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE because this African-American Jehovah's Witness Female failed to exhaust all administrative remedies prior to filing this claim, plus the complaint was filed outside of the ninety-day limitations period.

Tuwanna S. Stevens was a former employee of Elior, who alleged that she was subjected to a hostile work environment due to her being a Jehovah's Witness. After disclosure of her faith, Tuwanna Stevens claimed that she was subjected to hostile and aggressive behavior by her coworkers, manager, and supervisory staff. Stevens further alleged a physical altercation occurred between her and another coworker, and contended that coworkers would move her work tools while she was on breaks. 

Tuwanna S. Stevens claimed that in December 2021, her manager began playing Christian music and sermons daily on one of the manager's devices. Stevens claimed it was loud enough for the entire cafeteria to hear. Tuwanna Stevens asked her manager to stop playing Christian music and sermons out loud as they were against her religion and made her uncomfortable. Stevens asserted that her manager refused, and began playing the music and sermons even louder -- as a direct attack on Stevens' faith. Tuwanna Stevens alleged that after this conversation, her manager started treating her in an aggressive and hostile manner. Stevens did not file a charge of discrimination and harassment with the EEOC until May 2022. In July 2022, the EEOC issued Stevens a Dismissal, and a "Right-to-Sue" letter (ur on ur own).


TUWANNA SUE STEVENS v. CABARRUS COUNTY NC BOARD OF EDUCATION was a 2018-22 North Carolina federal employment discrimination case. Tuwanna S. Stevens, an African-American Jehovah's Witness female, alleged that School discriminated against her on the basis of her race when she was not promoted to the position of Cafeteria Assistant II in December 2018. Plaintiff also alleged that School retaliated against her for filing charges with the EEOC when it terminated her employment in June 2019. Plaintiff alleged that both actions were in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964  

In response, School contended that Tuwanna Stevens was not qualified for the Cafeteria Assistant II position, because she had recently been disciplined for a safety violation when she left a lid containing boric acid on a dish rack with other dishes and pans, resulting in contamination in the kitchen. School further contends that even if Plaintiff were qualified, School has presented legitimate non-discriminatory reasons for selecting another internal candidate, O.R., who had prior management experience, had experience successfully running the breakfast lines alone, and could speak Spanish, allowing for communication with Spanish-speaking students and their families regarding free meal options.

Finally, School contends that Tuwanna Stevens's termination was not in retaliation for her filing of any EEOC charges, but rather as a result of numerous problems and violations noted by her manager, Ms. Jarrell, who was not even aware that Plaintiff had filed any EEOC charges.

Tuwanna S. Stevens was an employee of Cabarrus County Schools in the School Nutrition Program from August 2015 until June 13, 2019. Plaintiff was initially hired to work at Cox Mill High School, and her job duties involved stocking items, preparing food, and working the cash register. Plaintiff alleges that all of her supervisors and co-workers were Caucasian or Latino/Latina, and she generally alleged that she endured verbal abuse, specifically that on one occasion another co-worker called her a "stupid bitch".

Tuwanna S. Stevens also alleged that she was asked to help put up Christmas decorations, which she declined because of her beliefs as a Jehovah's Witness, and she was later directed to take down Christmas decorations, which she also declined.

At some point in 2016, Tuwanna Stevens caused an "anonymous letter" to be sent to the Board on her behalf complaining about her working environment at Cox Mill. Tuwanna Stevens then met with then SNP Director, Gayle Buddenbum, who asked Tuwanna Stevens if she "was okay working at Cox Mill," and Stevens responded "No." According to Plaintiff, after her complaint to Ms. Buddenbum, Plaintiff was asked by her supervisor at Cox Mill, Amy Hill, to come into the office, and Ms. Hill told Tuwanna Stevens that there was an issue with a "black rat" in her kitchen, which Plaintiff understood to be a reference to her, due to her race.

Soon thereafter, near the end of the 2015-16 school year, Tuwanna Stevens was transferred to Odell Elementary School, where she was required to pack up the cafeteria and clean out sheds in preparation for the school to be demolished and rebuilt.

A few weeks later, at the beginning of the 2016-17 school year, Tuwanna Stevens was transferred to Winkler Middle School, received a pay increase, and began working under Stacy Jarrell, a different direct manager than the supervisor at her previous school. Plaintiff remained at Winkler for three years, until she was terminated in June 2019. 

Tuwanna Stevens contends that at Winkler, she continued to experience verbal abuse from her white co-workers and her manager, specifically that on one occasion during the 2016-17 year, a co-worker stated that Plaintiff was "not needed at Winkler," and that on another occasion during the 2017-18 year, when she attempted to help with the dishes, a co-worker said, "bitch, I said don't touch the damn dishes," and Plaintiff was thereafter reprimanded for the incident. Plaintiff remained at Winkler for the 2018-19 school year as a Cafeteria Assistant II, and received a merit-based pay increase.

Tuwanna Stevens filed her first EEOC charge on September 6, 2018. In this charge, Plaintiff alleged that she faced discrimination on the basis of race and religion. According to Plaintiff, she filed this charge after another individual was selected over her for a 5-hour position on the salad bar, and Plaintiff was reassigned to cover the salad bar but was not increased to a 5-hour position. Plaintiff received a right to sue letter on September 26, 2018, but did not timely file suit as to this EEOC charge, as set out in the prior Order on the Motion to Dismiss.

A few weeks later, in October 2018, a chemical reaction occurred in the dish room at Winkler after the lid of a boric acid container was run through the school's dishwasher. Plaintiff's manager Ms. Jarrell describes this incident as follows:

"On October 25, [Plaintiff] placed the top of a 30 gallon lid of a boric acid container in the dish drain, commonly referred to as the dish rack, where dirty dishes are placed that are run through the kitchen's industrial dishwasher. The dish rack contained several sheet pans and other large items that are used for cooking and preparing food. As a result, the boric acid lid was run through the dishwasher with dirty sheet pans and dishes, causing significant chemical reaction and contamination of the dishwasher and all of its contents with boric acid, a toxic chemical. ... Due to [Plaintiff's] careless mishandling of a toxic substance, our dishes and all utensils were exposed to this toxin, requiring significant cleaning of the dishwasher and other items."

After this incident, Manager Jarrell directed Plaintiff to sign a safety checklist that Plaintiff alleges she had previously signed on August 25, 2018. Tuwanna Stevens signed the safety checklist on October 25, 2018, but refused to sign another copy when requested by Field Supervisor Cabading, resulting in an argument between Plaintiff and Field Supervisor Cabading. Plaintiff ultimately signed the form on November 13, 2018 after meeting with the Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources.

In late October 2018, Tuwanna Stevens wrote a letter to Human Resources complaining about her paperwork being misplaced, and her perception that she was being harassed, and she also filed a second EEOC charge generally alleging that she experienced "harassment" in retaliation for the first charge she filed, although the evidence reflects that Manager Jarrell and Field Supervisor Cabading were not aware that she had filed an EEOC charge. Plaintiff received a right to sue letter as to this EEOC charge on November 6, 2018, but did not timely file suit, as set out in the prior Order on the Motion to Dismiss.

In early November 2018, shortly after the incident with the boric acid lid, School posted a job opening for a Cafeteria Assistant II (5.5-hour) position, and applications were accepted from November 16, 2018, until the position was filled. This position was the same job grade as Plaintiff's position but provided an additional 1.5 hours per day. Plaintiff applied on November 15, 2018. Plaintiff submitted a second application for the position on November 28, 2018. On December 11, 2018, Plaintiff was invited to interview for the position at issue.

Also on December 11, 2018, Tuwanna Stevens filed a third EEOC Charge. In her third charge, Tuwanna Stevens alleged racial discrimination and retaliation based on a general assertion of "harassment" and specifically alleging that she had applied for the 5.5-hour position, but that a less-experienced employee had been pre-selected and was training for the position since November 7, 2018. Plaintiff interviewed for the position on December 13, 2018, but on December 18, 2018, Plaintiff was notified that she not selected for the position; her co-worker O.R. was chosen for the position. The selection was made by Manager Jarrell and Field Supervisor Cabading. Plaintiff contends that she was more experienced than O.R., based on Plaintiff's past work with a caterer and as a food preparer at Panera, and Plaintiff also notes that she had positive performance reviews. In addition, despite not being selected for the position, Plaintiff contends that she was instructed to assist and train O.R. The EEOC attempted to conciliate Plaintiff's third charge, which ultimately failed, and Plaintiff was issued a right to sue letter on January 16, 2020. That third EEOC charge is the basis for the failure to promote claim presently before the Court.

In February 2019, Tuwanna Stevens was directed to cover as a substitute at other schools on three dates. Field Supervisor Cabading notes that employees were regularly required to cover other schools as needed, that nine other employees also substituted at other schools in winter and spring 2019, that of those nine at least one other employee besides Plaintiff substituted on three dates, and that another of those nine actually substituted at other schools on six dates. Tuwanna Stevens filed her fourth charge with the EEOC on February 19, 2019, complaining that this requirement that she work as a substitute at other schools was continued retaliation for her previously filed EEOC charges. Plaintiff did not timely file suit on this EEOC charge, as set out in the prior Order on the Motion to Dismiss.

Tuwanna Stevens contends that in March 2019, she was harassed when she was corrected regarding how she was handling certain food purchases by special needs students, and she was then no longer allowed to handle purchases by special needs students. Manager Jarrell also notes that Plaintiff had several other work performance issues in early 2019, including serving incorrect portion sizes of salsa, putting salads in the freezer resulting in them being discarded, failing to place the newest milk in the back of the container on multiple occasions resulting in numerous out-of-date cartons being discarded, thawing excessive amounts of meat resulting in the excess being discarded, frequently bickering and debating with co-workers over job duties and recipes, and requiring re-training on basic recipes and food temperatures.

Tuwanna Stevens's mid-year benchmark evaluation for the 2018-2019 school year noted that Plaintiff was evaluated as a 1 (needs improvement) in the following categories, among others: willing to work with others; accepts the responsibility for other duties as assigned; accepts extra assignment in a professional matter; knows what to do and say at the right time; maintains working relationships without arousing resentment; is courteous friendly and works successfully with students, staff, and parents, gaining their support and cooperation and assist in creating an inviting atmosphere for customers; works well with principals, teachers, manager, and/or staff; and works in cooperation with others and gives evidence of being a good team worker. The evaluation noted that Plaintiff "frequently has disagreements with co-workers and the manager," "often argues about assignments and states the manager should do them herself," and "frequently argues with the method shown by the Manager; insists on doing it her way." The evaluation also makes multiple references to the boric acid incident, and notes that Plaintiff "[d]oes not complete duties in allotted time" and "[n]eeds frequent re-training."

On March 18, 2019, Tuwanna Stevens wrote a letter acknowledging that she had reviewed her 2018-19 Benchmark evaluation and complaining of "public humiliation" because Manager Jarrell corrected her in front of others regarding the incident related to purchases by special needs students, and because if Plaintiff asked questions Manager Jarrell would ask someone else to help her.

On April 8, 2019, Tuwanna Stevens received a memo from SNP Director Stefanie Almond following up on the March 2019 conversations regarding Plaintiff's performance. The memo outlined performance concerns and stated that Plaintiff's behavior violated Cabarrus County Schools' Board Policy Code: 7300 Staff Responsibilities and 7205 Standards of Professional Conduct. 

Following receipt of the April 8 Memo, Tuwanna Stevens was placed on a Performance Improvement Plan. As a part of this plan, Plaintiff was given performance-related goals to meet and steps to attain those goals. Plaintiff was also set to attend regularly scheduled formal conferences regarding her PIP.

On May 16, 2019, Tuwanna Stevens received a letter summarizing a formal conference that was conducted on May 15, 2019 with respect to her action plan evaluation. The letter advised that Plaintiff had not met the standard on three of her five goals and outlined specific instances of Plaintiff's poor performance which included communication issues with repeated requests and "increased agitation and demands" to Manager Jarrell on May 13, 2019, failure to follow instructions of Manager Jarrell, and a violation of chemical and sanitation procedures by using degreaser instead of sanitizer as observed by Manager Jarrell. In response to the letter, Plaintiff expressed that she felt she was respectful to all co-workers and that she was consistently harassed.

Tuwanna Stevens received another action plan evaluation on May 30, 2019. This evaluation reflected that Plaintiff had failed to meet the standard on all five of her goals. The written summary of the conference included the following examples:

-- Errors or unclear information on Production Records on 5/17/19, 5/21/19, and 5/22/19.
-- Negative and disrespectful communication with your manager and co-workers. On 5/22/19, your manager [Jarrell] addressed incorrect rotation of milk crates with you. You ignored her the first time and gave a disrespectful reply the second time. On 5/24/19, your manger [Jarrell] pointed out dried food on the pans next to your workstation and asked you to clean them. You gave a disrespectful response. On 5/28/19, your manager [Jarrell] observed you give a disrespectful reply to a co-worker.
-- Not following manager directives consistently. The milk crates in your milk box were rotated incorrectly on 5/22/19 and 5/24/19. On 5/23/19, you worked over, causing you to exceed your allotted work hours.
-- Not following recipes by not having ham thawed in time for the day on 5/17/19. Manager [Jarrell] observed you throwing away ham on the same day.
-- Not following sanitation procedures on 5/17/19 by leaving dropped ham on freezer floor and not cleaning up the area to prevent contamination and falls.

In response to this, Tuwanna Stevens noted that she felt she was "being discriminated against" and that she had not had any confrontation with any co-workers.

Tuwanna Stevens's 2018-19 end of the year evaluation reflects that Plaintiff received a 1 (below standard) in all matters except attendance. The evaluator comments note that "[Plaintiff] frequently has disagreements with co-workers and the manager. She continues to clock out late and refuses to acknowledge directives by the manager or second in charge. [Plaintiff] requires guidelines to be explained to her on a continual basis." Plaintiff noted on that evaluation that her evaluations had been up to standard prior to that school year and that she was being unfairly evaluated.

Tuwanna Stevens was ultimately terminated on June 13, 2019. Plaintiff's termination letter stated that she was terminated for actions that violate Cabarrus County Schools' Board Policies 7300 Staff Responsibilities and 7205 Standards of Professional Conduct. The letter indicated that Plaintiff's "behavior and methods of communication continue to be both inappropriate and unprofessional." The termination letter also referenced the conferences and written memos Plaintiff had received from November 2018 through May 2019 regarding her performance that year.

Tuwanna Stevens filed a fifth EEOC charge on June 5, 2019, complaining of continued retaliation after the filing of her previous four EEOC charges. On June 13, 2019, Plaintiff filed her sixth EEOC charge, complaining that she was terminated in retaliation for her previously-filed EEOC charges. As noted in the prior Order on the Motion to Dismiss, Plaintiff did not timely file suit as to either of these EEOC charges.

Defendant School moved for summary judgment on Plaintiff's remaining claims. With respect to Plaintiff's failure to promote claim, Defendant argues that there is "no direct evidence of discrimination" and that "Plaintiff cannot make out a prima facie case of discriminatory failure to promote since Plaintiff was not qualified for the position due to her recent safety violation; the Board had legitimate, non-discriminatory reasons for selecting the candidate it did; and Plaintiff has not adduced evidence to support a claim that the Board's reasons were pretextual." With respect to Plaintiff's claim for retaliatory discharge, Defendant contends that "[t]he undisputed facts reveal that Plaintiff was terminated for legitimate non-discriminatory reasons, including Plaintiff's failure to follow requirements for chemical handling, food safety, recipes, and food handling."

Tuwanna Stevens contended that there was sufficient evidence in the record to show that since the filing of her first EEOC charge in September 2018, she was subjected to material adverse employment actions that were ultimately used to set her up for a pretextual termination. Plaintiff also argued that evidence in the record existed that demonstrated that Plaintiff's experience qualified her for the Cafeteria Assistant II (5.5-hour) position, and that a less-qualified candidate was hired which create a genuine issue of material facts that precludes summary judgment.

In her Amended Complaint, Tuwanna Stevens brought seven causes of action against Defendant: (1) violation of Title VII and 42 U.S.C. 1981 based on failure to promote; (2) violation of Title VII and 42 U.S.C. 1981 based on retaliatory discharge; (3) violation of 42 U.S.C. 1983 for denials of her substantive due process rights; (4) violation of Title VII based on a racially hostile work environment; (5) intention infliction of emotional distress; (6) wrongful discharge in violation of public policy; and (7) violation of the North Carolina Equal Employment Practices Act.

On January 22, 2021, the USDC entered a Memorandum Opinion and Order dismissing Plaintiff's third, fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh claims in their entirety. As to Count One, the USDC dismissed Plaintiff's claim under 1981, leaving only the Title VII claim for failure to promote on Count One. Finally, as to Count Two, the District Judge dismissed Plaintiff's claim under 1981 for retaliatory discharge, leaving only the Title VII claim for retaliatory discharge in Count Two. As such, Plaintiff's remaining claims were her Title VII claim for failure to promote and Title VII claim for retaliatory discharge. DISMISSED by USDC in September 2022.


JW IRS EMPLOYEE v. INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE was a 2015-18 Texas federal administrative action. Unidentified African-American Jehovah's Witness male complainant worked as a Senior Individual Taxpayer Advisory Specialist, Wage and Investment Division, Taxpayer Assistance Center, located in San Antonio, Texas.

In April 2014, the IRS's Office of Civil Rights and Diversity dismissed three 2013-14 claims based on Complainant's race (Black), religion (Jehovah's Witness), disability (unspecified), and retaliation (prior protected activity) related to an uncertain July 2013 medical issue, a February 2014 workers compensation claim, and a letter of reprimand concerning an April 2014 incident. This tribunal affirmed the dismissals of the first two matters, but reversed the dismissal relating to the reprimand, which was directed to be reopened and re-investigated.

In February 2015, Complainant filed YET ANOTHER EEO complaint alleging that the IRS discriminated against him based on religion (Jehovah's Witness), when in December 2014, his manager denied his request for an exception to the agency's "open container" policy -- not allowing Complainant to eat at his desk and avoid exposure to holiday decorations in the breakroom, which offended his religious beliefs. After an investigation, the IRS concluded that Complainant had failed to prove that the agency had subjected him to discrimination as alleged.

Specifically, on December 16, 2014, Complainant sent an email to his Manager explaining that he did not celebrate Christmas, and requested that he be permitted to eat at his desk instead of the breakroom during his break, because the breakroom contained Christmas and holiday decorations, which made him feel uncomfortable. Complainant indicated that his usual meal was a breakfast sandwich. Not hearing back from Manager, Complainant sent a second email asking for a response the next day. Complainant also wrote that he preferred that his co-workers not question him regarding why he was eating at his desk. On December 22, 2014, Complainant learned that his request had not been granted.

Complainant claimed that Manager denied his request based on "expense", which apparently was a reference to the closed container food policy to protect computer equipment in the work area. Manager suggested that Complainant take his break on the fourth floor of an adjacent building, which did not have holiday decorations. Complainant asserted that such an alternative was not reasonable as it would take him up to 15 minutes to get to that fourth-floor breakroom. Complainant also argued that eating a breakfast sandwich was far less dangerous to the electronic equipment than liquids in covered containers sitting at one's desk. Despite Manager's denial, the food policy was not enforced, because Complainant continued to eat at his desk without any consequence.

The record showed that Manager made a good faith effort to reasonably accommodate Complainant's religious beliefs. Manager advised Complainant that he could take his meal break in the fourth-floor breakroom, which was in an immediately adjoining building which was accessible by elevators. Complainant also informed Manager that he was uncomfortable with his co-workers questioning why he ate at his desk. However, the record was devoid of any evidence that any co-worker had in fact questioned Complainant on this topic.

In addition to finding that the IRS provided a reasonable accommodation to Complainant, the tribunal noted that the holiday decorations that offended Complainant were secular decorations that are permitted throughout the federal government and work environment. The holiday decorations in the breakroom consisted of a tablecloth and two poinsettias. There was a Christmas tree in the office.  However, it was not visible from the breakroom. According to the U.S. Supreme Court, such holiday decorations amount to secular symbols, rather than an expression of a religion, and displaying them in the federal workplace does not violate the establishment clause of the First Amendment. Neither does Title VII require a public or private employer to provide the accommodation preferred by the employee even if accommodation is not convenient to the employee. In addition, to the extent that Complainant raised a claim of hostile work environment, the court found the record devoid of evidence to support such a claim. Accordingly, based on a thorough review of the record and the contentions on appeal, including those not specifically addressed herein, the tribunal AFFIRMED the Agency's final decision.


JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES v. AUSTRALIA was a 2008-10 case which should be educational for insightful readers despite the fact that this case was ordered to be reheard, and we don't have that outcome. This Australian case was brought by a Jehovah's Witness who, in 2007, the Guardianship Tribunal had appointed as the "guardian" of a 86 year-old "cognitively impaired" Jehovah's Witness Female living in a senior care facility. In 2008, the Guardianship Tribunal reviewed that order and determined that there was no need for the guardianship to continue. JWGuardian appealed that decision by the Guardianship Tribunal, asserting that the GT should have re-appointed her as the "guardian" for JWPatient to make end of life decisions and decisions about religious observance.

As further background, JWPatient was described as "a long term adherent of the Jehovah's Witness faith". JWGuardian was merely described as a "close friend". It would seem to have been pertinent to mention that JWGuardian was a "relative", if such had been the case. Any other relationship would also have been nice to know. INTERESTINGLY, this opinion mentions the fact that on at least one occasion that an attorney representing JWGuardian -- most probably being one of the WatchTower Society of Australia's legal staff -- had telephoned the nursing home and had attempted to bully the Manager. The extent of WatchTower Legal's involvement in this continuing case is unknown, although they did not show for this hearing.

The CONTROVERSY centered around JWPatient's expressed desire to attend various CHRISTMAS festivities held at the nursing home, and JWGuardian's expressed demands that the nursing home not permit JWPatient to do so. (JWGuardian also wanted the nursing home to STOP permitting other unspecified "friends" of JWPatient from taking JWPatient on short trips away from the nursing home.) The record of the nursing home Manager's testimony included:

"The aged care facility has 'a lot of Christmas themed activities', and [JWPatient] 'wanted to attend every Christmas-themed activity that took place, and that while [JWPatient] is aware that she is a Jehovah's Witness and does not celebrate Christmas, [JWPatient] said that that does not mean she can't 'enjoy' herself and 'participate'. ... ."

"We were told in no uncertain terms by [JWGuardian] that we could not allow [JWPatient] to participate in any Christmas-themed activities, and if that meant [JWPatient] was by herself in the cottage whilst every other resident went to an activity ... that's what had to happen. ... ."

"... we did have disagreement about that because [JWPatient] herself, even with her dementia really wanted to attend these recreational activities, but we were forbidden to allow her to attend. ... ."

"[JWPatient] does have dementia but she's not -- she still has insight into her religious beliefs ... what she actually said to me was, 'Yes, I believe in Jehovah, and I don't celebrate Christmas, but my God is a loving God, and I think he'd want me to be happy, and if going to listen to the children sing makes me happy, he would want that for me.' Now, I think that's a reasonable statement but [JWGuardian] did not agree with that and we did have words over this."

[Manager] maintained that the aged care facility was "... very respectful of [JWPatient's] religion. ... We don't take her to [other religious] services, and we have many different religious services here catering to many different residents." [Manager] went on to tell the Guardianship Tribunal that JWGuardian's lawyer had telephoned the aged care facility about these incidents and that she had a "somewhat heated discussion" with him. [Manager] concluded by saying that, "It is impossible to avoid Christmas-themed activities, so should she be punished because of that?"


BRENDA MEDINA v. SAFEWAY is an ongoing 2020-22 Colorado federal employment discrimination case. After having worked as an "all purpose food clerk" at SAFEWAY for 24 years, Brenda Medina, of Eaton, Colorado, currently employed at the Fort Collins store, alleged that in Fall 2018, her Supervisor refused her request to be excluded from Thanksgiving and Christmas solicitations while Medina checked-out customers. Brenda Medina alleged that her supervisor then began to harass her for not soliciting those customers whom she was checking. Medina further alleged that her Union rep and Supervisor then pressured her to take unpaid leave during the two holiday periods in 2018 and 2019. In March 2020, Brenda Medina filed a discrimination complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Division, and received a Right-To-Sue Letter in October 2020. Brenda Medina thereafter filed this lawsuit in which Brenda Medina alleged both religious discrimination and retaliation. SAFEWAY claimed that Medina has been "accommodated" at every turn of events.

In March 2022, the USDC granted Safeway's motion for summary judgement on the religious discrimination claim, and set a trial date for the retaliation claim. In the latest decision, the USDC noted that Safeway had provided Brenda Medina an option to not say "Turkey" or "Santa Bucks" during the checkout solicitations, but, instead, "Would you like to donate to the Larimer County Food Bank?"  When Brenda Medina declined that offer, Safeway offered her different positions throughout the store that she could do that did not require that she ask for donations at all; however, Medina declined that offer as well, claiming that moving her to a different position constituted "punishment". Ultimately, the USDC ruled that Brenda Medina's religious beliefs had been reasonably "accommodated" by Safeway. Pending.


THOMAS VILLANUEVA AND HERNANDO QUINTERO v. ROBBINS BROS. JEWELRY STORES is a 2021 ongoing California state employment discrimination lawsuit. Thomas Villanueva and Hernando Quintero were hired in 2000 and 2005, respectively. At the time of their firing, they ran the asset protection and loss prevention department. The two Jehovah's Witness Ministers allege they were consistently harassed and discriminated against because of their religion starting in 2012. 

Thomas Villanueva and Hernando Quintero allege that Robbins management knew they did not celebrate Christmas, yet the company repeatedly offered them Christmas bonuses that they would not accept, and invited them to company Christmas celebrations. Allegedly, on the way to a company dinner, Robbins' director of credit, billings, and collections played Christmas music and teased the two Jehovah's Witness employees about not being able to listen to those tunes. Oh, dear!!!

In April 2019, Thomas Villanueva and Hernando Quintero allege that they discovered that some employees were ringing up fake sales, enabling the workers to then delay charging back the phony transactions until after Robbins recorded that they had met sales quotas, which provided them with bonus commissions.

In February 2020, Thomas Villanueva and Hernando Quintero allege that employees of some Robbins stores were creating fake pay stubs for certain customers, which falsely showed those customers having higher incomes than they actually had, so that they could be extended extra credit. The plaintiffs allege those employees were committing loan fraud in order to increase sales and earn higher commissions. The alleged fraud also benefited upper management by allowing them to achieve their sales goals.

After reporting the alleged financial fraud in March 2020, both plaintiffs were furloughed and told that it was because of the coronavirus pandemic. Really? Both men were then fired two months later.

The plaintiffs allege lost income and lost career opportunities, and continue to endure an adverse economic fallout. Thomas Villanueva and Hernando Quintero allege wrongful termination and harassment, retaliation and discrimination based on religion. They seek unspecified compensatory and punitive damages. WHERE IS EEOC?


BEONICA VICTORIA GASKILL CLAYBORN v. MIGHTY OAKS CHILD DEVELOPMENT CENTER was a 2019-21 Mississippi federal employment discrimination case. Mighty Oaks hired Beonica V. Gaskill-Clayborn, age 30s, as a preschool teacher in August 2019. Before she was hired, Beonica Gaskill PROPERLY informed Mighty Oaks management that she was a Jehovah's Witness, and that her religion prohibited celebrating certain holidays, including Halloween. Because Mighty Oaks usually held holiday celebrations, Gaskill would not be able to work on schooldays that holidays were celebrated. Mighty Oaks told Gaskill that this would not be a problem so long as Gaskill requested the days off in advance.

On or around October 5, 2019, Gaskill asked off on October 31, because of Halloween celebrations in the classroom. Gaskill was told to submit a formal, written request two weeks before October 31. Gaskill submitted a written request on or about October 17. However, on October 29, Gaskill was told that she would be required to work on October 31. Gaskill texted Mighty Oaks early in the morning on October 31 that she would not be coming to work that day because of her religious beliefs. Mighty Oaks informed Gaskill that she was "not permitted to be off work on October 31." Gaskill again told Mighty Oaks that she needed the day off, and also informed Mighty Oaks that she also needed November 1 off. When Gaskill returned to work the following Monday, she was fired. This lawsuit was filed in June 2020. The USDC entered a default in October 2020. Mighty Oaks failed to defend. Default judgment entered January 2021. Damages TBD.


AMANDA BITAR v. TREASURY BOARD was a 2019-2020 Canadian administrative decision issued by the Federal Public Sector Labour Relations and Employment Board. Amanda Bitar was a government employee and member of the government employees Union.

[1]  The grievor, Amanda Bitar, alleged that the employer, Statistics Canada, discriminated against her and harassed her on the basis of her religious affiliations, in violation of article 19 of the collective agreement between the Treasury Board and the Public Service Alliance of Canada (the bargaining agent) for the Program and Administrative Services Group (all employees), ... 

[2] The grievor is a devout Jehovah's Witness. According to the doctrines of her faith, she does not celebrate Christmas or Valentine's Day. She explained that both of them are derived from pagan celebrations that Christianity adopted. Historically, her co-workers' celebrations of them in the workplace did not cause her problems while she worked as the assistant to the district manager, George Singer, because he allowed her to be absent for them. However, his retirement in June 2014 changed her circumstances. 

[3] In December 2014 at a staff meeting, Mr. Singer's replacement, Eileen Wilson, asked the grievor if she would attend the Christmas lunch with her co-workers if they changed it to a holiday lunch and agreed not to discuss Christmas while she was there. This made her very uncomfortable, according to her testimony. Just because they would rename the lunch and there would be no discussions about Christmas, it was still to be held during the Christmas period, and in her opinion, it was still to celebrate Christmas. Ms. Wilson's attempts to have her attend the workplace function were harassment, in her opinion. 

[4] The grievor testified that she felt pressured by Ms. Wilson to attend, in front of her co-workers. According to her, had she gone to the lunch as proposed by Ms. Wilson, the entire situation would have been very awkward, and it would have stopped others from celebrating something they believed in, which she did not want. She advised Ms. Wilson that she would not attend. Ms. Wilson's response was that if she did not attend, she was expected to stay at her workstation and work while the others attended, or alternatively, she would have to use her banked leave to take the time off. 

[5] As it turned out, the grievor was not scheduled to work the day on which the lunch was held, so there was no need for her to remain at her workstation during the meal. However, on that day, she took issue with the luncheon attendees being allowed to go home directly from the restaurant, meaning that they were essentially granted 1 hour and 45 minutes of paid leave that they did not have to deduct from their leave banks. She considered it discrimination because but for the fact that she was a Jehovah's Witness, she would have been granted the same benefit. She testified that she was entitled to it regardless of the fact that she did not work the day of the luncheon. 

[6] Ms. Wilson's next incident of discrimination against the grievor was related to the employer's "Employee Appreciation Day" (EAD) celebrations in February 2015. In 2006, the grievor had been involved in EAD events as part of the planning committee, at Mr. Singer's request. At that time, she had been part of it for five months when she read a newsletter that explained why the employer had chosen Valentine's Day as the date for the EAD celebrations. Once she became aware that the EAD celebrations were linked to Valentine's Day, she told Mr. Singer that she had to resign from the committee because of her religious beliefs. For the next eight years, she made a point of not working on the day on which the EAD celebrations were scheduled. 

[7] The EAD events were scheduled for Friday, February 13, 2015, a day on which the grievor would not normally have been at work. However, due to a storm forecasted to hit the area of Halifax, Nova Scotia, on that day, the employer decided to reschedule the events to Thursday, February 12, a day on which she was scheduled to work. She was not aware of the sudden change until she arrived at work on February 12, so she could not have planned to take leave that day, to avoid the celebrations. Furthermore, at approximately noon that day, she was told that her desk was to be used for one of the EAD activities between 13:30 and 14:30. 

[8] Since it was impossible for the grievor to remain at her desk and work discreetly, given the circumstances, she asked Ms. Wilson if she could go to the Scotia Square Mall between 13:30 and 14:30, according to her evidence. She explained to Ms. Wilson the connection between the EAD and Valentine's Day and how as a Jehovah's Witness, it was against her religion to celebrate Valentine's Day. According to her, Ms. Wilson did not understand why she wanted to leave for the hour; nor did Ms. Wilson understand the link between the EAD and Valentine's Day, even though the grievor had clearly established that the EAD was always held around February 14 each year and that chocolate hearts were always given out. Despite this, according to the grievor, Ms. Wilson became irritated and was unwilling to discuss the matter. 

[9] The meeting with Ms. Wilson occurred at approximately noon on February 12, following her EAD address to the staff. The grievor testified that she then returned to her desk and worked until 13:30, at which point she left the premises and combined her two 15-minute breaks and her 30-minute lunch hour to make up the hour she needed to be absent from her desk to avoid the EAD activities. She returned to her desk once the activity concluded. 

[10] On cross-examination, the grievor conceded that she did not ask Ms. Wilson for permission to combine her breaks so that she could be away from her desk while it was being used; nor did she ask to be allowed to work elsewhere. She did ask for the same leave that the others would receive for participating in the events, which was between 12:00 and 16:00. When it was denied, she then combined her lunch break with her morning and afternoon breaks to make up the hour she was out of the office. 

[11] Following this incident, the grievor sent an email on March 26, 2015, with a newsletter attached, which in her mind clearly established the link between Valentine's Day and the EAD celebrations (Exhibit 2, tab 2). Ms. Wilson responded in a way that the grievor felt disrespected her, and she felt discriminated against. According to her testimony, she merely tried to explain the truth to Ms. Wilson, who was not willing to listen. Despite Ms. Wilson's unwillingness to accept the truth, the employer's numerous newsletters clearly proved the connection between the EAD, because of the dates of the EAD celebrations over the years, and the pictures of Valentine's Day decorations and references to chocolate hearts being given out (Exhibit 2, tabs 3 to 18, inclusive). 

[12] In her email (Exhibit 2, tab 2), the grievor also took the opportunity to clarify that Ms. Wilson was mistaken as to what the grievor had requested on February 12. While Ms. Wilson had apparently understood that the grievor had intended to leave for the day when she spoke to Ms. Wilson on February 12, her intention was to be away from the office only for the hour during which her desk was being used for EAD activities. 

[13] The next time the grievor heard about her requests not to be included in Christmas and EAD celebrations at the office was during her annual performance review, when her supervisor, Linda Ritchie, advised her that Ms. Wilson wanted her to know that her request to go home on the day of the EAD celebrations was inappropriate. Furthermore, according to the grievor, Ms. Ritchie was to record it in the grievor's performance review document, which Ms. Ritchie refused to do, despite Ms. Wilson's directions. Regardless, Ms. Ritchie told the grievor that her requests to be excluded from workplace situations due to religious reasons were a concern for Ms. Wilson. The grievor considered this a violation of her collective agreement and human rights, so on April 12, 2015, she filed her grievance. 

[14] According to the grievor, at the performance review meeting, Ms. Ritchie told her that in the future, when workplace events occurred on days that she was scheduled to work, and she did not wish to participate in them, she would either have to take accumulated leave or remain at her desk and work. She was not entitled to simply leave the workplace. The grievor testified that she indicated to Ms. Ritchie that she had no issues with remaining at her desk and working. But on Valentine's Day, doing that had been impossible, since her workstation was being used as part of the event, and she had been told to clear her desk for the activities that were to begin at 13:30 on that day. 

[15] The grievor asked Ms. Ritchie to request that Ms. Wilson look at the newsletter she had emailed that established the link between the EAD and Valentine's Day, but she refused to. The grievor testified that she was treated like a problem employee who used her religion to try to get out of work. The performance review was completed after this discussion, and she was very upset by what she perceived was a poor review. In cross-examination, she was referred to the performance review document (Exhibit 3, tab 6), to where it was noted that she had successfully met all expectations for that year. She testified that based on the conversation with Ms. Ritchie about her attending workplace events, she had not met the employer's expectations, even though that was not noted in the performance review document. 

[16] After the performance review and her alleged mistreatment by Ms. Wilson, the grievor, who had a history of anxiety and depression, began to dread going to work. She became irritable and anxious about going to work. She could not understand why she could not please Ms. Wilson. Together with the stress of the grievance process, it eventually led to a relapse of her anxiety and depression. Her physician put her on medical leave from March 31, 2015, to June 1, 2015. 

[17] The grievor was able to return to work only through a workplace accommodation that removed her from Ms. Wilson's reporting structure. She returned in September 2015 and was assigned to the Regional Census Centre in Halifax, where she remained until Ms. Wilson retired in June 2016. She returned to the Halifax Regional Office, her regular workplace, in September 2016, and stayed there until June 2018, when she again went off work due to illness related to stress as a result of significant family issues (Exhibit 5). 

[18] Dr. Elena Swift has been the grievor's family physician for more than 10 years, including the period relevant to this grievance. She had determined in March 2015 that the grievor should go on sick leave due to her psychological health and had recommended that the grievor could not return to the workplace if she reported to Ms. Wilson. 

[19] Dr. Swift based this conclusion on the grievor's report that she felt harassed by Ms. Wilson and on the fact that in Dr. Swift's assessment, the feeling was affecting the grievor's mental health. She suffered from diminished concentration and focus and from heightened anxiety. She reported that she did not feel that the work environment was safe for her. According to Dr. Swift's testimony, and given the grievor's history of anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorders, which had been exacerbated over several months before the grievor consulted her in March 2015, she concluded that interacting with Ms. Wilson caused the grievor severe anxiety symptoms and that it was best for her to have no contact with Ms. Wilson. 

[20] The grievor had complained about workplace stress for a couple of years before this incident, according to Dr. Swift. But by that point, she was very anxious, worried excessively, and could not focus, and Dr. Swift described her as "just not herself". Dr. Swift's diagnosis was that in March 2015, the grievor was suffering from significant anxiety and depression symptoms because of the poor performance evaluation that she felt was unwarranted and because she felt harassed by Ms. Wilson. Dr. Swift was aware that the grievor had felt the relapse building for some time and that she mentioned something about an incident that had taken place around Christmas. 

[21] Dr. Swift testified that her role as a physician was to protect the grievor and to keep her safe; keeping the grievor away from someone she felt unsafe with was within Dr. Swift's scope of practice. Dr. Swift admitted that when treating a patient with mental illness, any visit is very one-sided; the physician does not obtain an objective report of the workings of the workplace. Regardless, the physician's role is to advocate for the patient. According to Dr. Swift, validating information received from a patient is inconsistent with that role. 

[22] Dr. Swift always tries to determine if her patients are contributing to workplace toxicity, because it may impact the accuracy of her diagnosis. She testified that she has some continuing-education-type expertise in human resources, discrimination, and harassment but that she is not an expert. She does not always assume that the information her patients provide is accurate. In the grievor's case, she did not accept the grievor's version of workplace events as accurate from the start, but the grievor brought emails that Ms. Wilson had sent her as evidence that she was being harassed. The emails were not retained in the medical file. When she was shown the email in which the employer's expectations were set out (Exhibit 2, tab 2), she noted the comment about miscommunication and agreed that it was not harassing. When she was shown the performance review document, she conceded that it was positive. The grievor had never shown her those documents. 

[23] Dr. Swift was unaware that the grievor did not report directly to Ms. Wilson or that two levels of supervision were between them. Dr. Swift did not recall if she ever asked the grievor how often she interacted with Ms. Wilson. Despite this, and based on the fact that the grievor wanted to return to work, Dr. Swift wrote the medical note identifying the need for accommodation. 

[24] Ms. Wilson took over as the employer's district manager, data collection, Atlantic Canada, in the fall of 2014, when Mr. Singer retired. She was responsible for three work areas, one being the clerical section where the grievor worked. Each section had a director and a supervisor responsible for its employees who reported to Ms. Wilson. When she took over from Mr. Singer, she was not provided with any information about an accommodation for religious reasons that was in place for the grievor. 

[25] In late 2014, the grievor called Ms. Wilson and complained that Ms. Ritchie had been disrespectful to her on the phone. Ms. Wilson had heard other complaints about the clerical section, in that people there were being disrespectful and that it had problems. As a result, for a while in late 2014 and early 2015, she took a much more active role in managing it. 

[26] Ms. Wilson held staff meetings every two weeks to deal with the behaviours that the grievor had identified during her call. At one of them, the group discussed dates for the Christmas luncheon. Ms. Wilson testified that she raised the issue of calling it by another name because otherwise, the group was excluding the grievor. She intended to be inclusive. She testified that she suggested that they call it a holiday lunch and that they agree not to discuss Christmas. The group agreed and encouraged the grievor to attend. She agreed to consider it but declined on the next day. 

[27] The lunch was held on a day on which the grievor was not scheduled to work. According to Ms. Wilson, at no time did the grievor or anyone else tell her what the practice had been during Mr. Singer's tenure. As far as she knew, the normal government-wide practices applied. 

[28] The EAD was scheduled for February 13, 2015, a day on which the grievor was not scheduled to work. Due to the forecasted severe winter storm, the celebrations were moved to February 12, which was her normally scheduled workday (she worked two days per week). 

[29] The first time Ms. Wilson became aware that the grievor did not celebrate Valentine's Day was on February 12, when the grievor came to her door to speak to her. The grievor told her that she was leaving for the day. Normally, the grievor would have spoken to Ms. Ritchie, but as she was absent that day, she spoke to Ms. Wilson. Initially, Ms. Wilson thought that the grievor was ill, but the grievor responded that the EAD was a celebration of Valentine's Day, which her religion did not celebrate, so she was leaving for the day. Ms. Wilson testified that she responded to the contrary, stating that the EAD was for everyone, which the grievor refused to accept. 

[30] The grievor was adamant that it was a Valentine's Day celebration, which, as a Jehovah's Witness, she did not celebrate. She insisted that clearly, the employer's headquarters in Ottawa, Ontario, had linked the EAD and Valentine's Day. Ms. Wilson responded that they were not linked in Halifax, even if they were linked in Ottawa. As proof, she reminded the grievor of the speech she had just given, which the grievor had just heard. It did not refer to Valentine's Day. If they were linked, Ms. Wilson assured the grievor that she would have wished everyone a happy Valentine's Day, which she had not done. 

[31] Ms. Wilson testified that she pointed out to the grievor that there were no decorations or candy of any kind in the office that would indicate to anyone that her workplace was celebrating Valentine's Day. The grievor told Ms. Wilson that she had once been on the EAD fundraising committee and that she had resigned because of its link to Valentine's Day, so Ms. Wilson was wrong. It was clear to Ms. Wilson that the discussion would have no resolution. The entire interaction took less than five minutes, as Ms. Wilson recalled. As was her habit when she thought things might escalate, she wrote a note to file concerning the incident (Exhibit 3, tab 7). 

[32]  Ms. Wilson dealt with the grievor's request to go home that day only because Ms. Ritchie was not in the office. Otherwise, the grievor would have taken her request to Ms. Ritchie. In her absence, Ms. Wilson was the next in line of supervision. When Ms. Ritchie returned, Ms. Wilson asked her to meet with the grievor and obtain a list of days on which she felt uncomfortable being at work due to religious reasons. Ms. Wilson knew about Christmas but wanted to be fully informed as to the days on which the grievor would seek religious accommodation. Ms. Ritchie was to talk to the grievor and inform her of the employer's expectations on those days on which she did not want to participate in workplace events; she was to either take leave or show up for work and remain there. The grievor was not entitled to simply go home; she was required to comply with the same rules as do all public servants. 

[33] Approximately a week after the EAD, Ms. Wilson asked Ms. Ritchie if she had spoken to the grievor. She replied that she had not. She indicated that she intended to do it when the two met to complete the grievor's annual performance review. According to Ms. Wilson's testimony, she gave explicit directions to Ms. Ritchie that she could do that, but Ms. Ritchie was to make it clear that it was not part of the performance review, and it was not to be put in the evaluation document. 

[34] Ms. Wilson was not aware that the grievor had made complaints about her. She had no idea that the grievor was upset with her or how she dealt with the grievor's requests to absent herself for religious reasons. The grievor never talked to her, according to the testimony. Had she known that she was causing the grievor pain, she would have worked diligently to resolve things. 

[35] Ms. Wilson testified that those who attended the Christmas luncheon in December 2014 were allowed 1 hour and 45 minutes of leave that they did not have to account for via their leave banks. The reason was that it was not possible for them to go to a restaurant, be served, and eat within their limited amount of meal-break time. Christmas is the exception to the rule, according to Ms. Wilson, in that employees who attend an event do not have to take leave but are paid for their time. When she was asked if the employees had to put in for leave with pay for other reasons under clause 52.01 of the collective agreement, Ms. Wilson testified that she did not know. In any event, she could not approve such leave; she could only recommend that it be approved, which, had the employees requested it, she would have done, but it did not arise. 

[36] This exception to the rule does not apply to employees who do not attend a Christmas luncheon, according to Ms. Wilson. They must either be at work for the full day or take leave for any part of the day for which they are not at work. This was so for her 35 years of public-service employment. 

[37] Ms. Wilson testified that she was blindsided by the grievor's insistence that the EAD was a celebration of Valentine's Day. Ms. Wilson had never heard anyone make that link on any management calls discussing EAD plans. There were no decorations in the workplace indicating that the EAD was a celebration of Valentine's Day. Despite the newsletters that the grievor had sent her, Ms. Wilson was adamant that the theme for the EAD in Halifax was not Valentine's Day. Statistics Canada senior management had chosen a significant date to honour its employees, but that did not make it a Valentine's Day celebration. The employer's regions choose the EAD date. 

[38] Since the grievor did not participate in the EAD events of February 12, 2015, she was entitled only to her usual lunch and two breaks. Had she wanted more time off, she would have had to take leave. She was not entitled to take four hours off, which was the duration of the EAD events, without putting in a leave request. Had she told Ms. Wilson that her workspace was being used for EAD activities, Ms. Wilson would have found her another workspace away from the EAD celebrations, where she could have worked undisturbed and where other employees were working who did not participate. The grievor did not do so, according to Ms. Wilson. She told Ms. Wilson that she wanted to go home because of the link between the EAD and Valentine's Day. 

[39] Ms. Wilson denied that she directed Ms. Ritchie to address the grievor's attendance at workplace events as part of her annual performance review. Rather, following the EAD issue, she asked Ms. Ritchie to ask the grievor for a list of holidays that conflicted with the grievor's religion or other dates on which she would seek religious accommodation. Ms. Wilson also directed Ms. Ritchie to advise the grievor that if an event that conflicted with her religious beliefs was to occur on a day on which she was scheduled to work, in the future, she would be required to reschedule her day, put in a request for leave for the day, or stay at work while others participated. 

[40] The problem was that Ms. Ritchie did not do as Ms. Wilson requested when she requested it. The next opportunity to do it was during the grievor's performance review. Ms. Wilson testified that she agreed to it being done then as long as the discussion was not recorded as part of the review. Such a review is about the performance of work duties and not about the need to be accommodated.



JERMI LITTLE v. HANES INDUSTRIES is an ongoing 2017-2020 North Carolina federal employment discrimination lawsuit brought by an interesting "Jehovah's Witness" plaintiff, who apparently was not actually a Jehovah's Witness. Jermi Little was reared as one of Jehovah's Witnesses by an African-American mother and a Caucasian father. We have no way of knowing if Little was ever baptized as an official member, and if so, whether he was ever later disfellowshipped, or whether his local Hickory, North Carolina Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses possibly considered Little to have automatically "disassociated" himself when he enlisted in the U.S. Army after high school. In any event, Jermi Little currently has claimed to be a "Christian who believes in the practices of Jehovah's Witnesses", including not celebrating Christmas.

Little began working as a full-time production employee at Hanes in Conover, North Carolina, in June 2011, and worked there until December 15, 2015, when he was fired after working for about a month as a truck driver. Hanes alleges that "although Little performed more or less satisfactorily in most of his production positions, he was viewed as somewhat of a 'loner' and had a number of negative interactions with co-workers of all races." Interestingly, despite that portrayal, a number of Hanes' coworkers and even two supervisors knew Jermi Little very well. Coworkers included a caucasian Uncle and an African-American cousin. One supervisor was a "close family friend", while a second supervisor was a fellow JW during Little's formative years. Who knows how many of these or other coworkers are Jehovah's Witnesses who apparently have never complained of discrimination at Hanes?

Jermi Little's religious discrimination claim involved his attendance and conduct at Hane's 2012 "year-end business dinner", which Little refers to as a "Christmas party". In 2014, when Little applied for a truck driver position, Little was not selected for an interview. Little was told that the reason was "because of his attitude". Specifically, Little was told that his behavior at the 2012 year-end dinner had made a negative impression on senior management. Hanes alleges that during the 2012 dinner that Little had refused to sit down with his co-workers, but instead, Little had paced around the room while the PRESIDENT of the company was making a presentation.

Little denies that that happened. The parties also disagree on how much upper management knew about Little's religious beliefs. Hanes denies that senior managers knew that Little had a religious objection to the year-end dinner, and further alleges that Little never requested any religious accommodation related to the dinner. Little now alleges that the four coworkers and supervisors mentioned above all knew about Little's JW Background and beliefs. Possibly, Little expected that those individuals were somehow responsible for informing senior management about Little's personal beliefs.

One senior manager later spoke to Little about his conduct at the dinner. Little claims that he replied, "I don't have to participate in a religious holiday to be considered for a job." Senior manager allegedly responded, "Well, it don't look good." Not liking that response, Little reported such to Hanes VP for Human Resources, stating "I don't have to participate to be considered for a job," and "it doesn't matter what religion I am, and whether I participate in a Christmas party or not." The parties also disagree about these exchanges.

Jermi Little was fired in December 2015 after completing a delivery. Surveillance footage showed that while entering that customer's property that Little took a corner too sharply and knocked the entrance gate down. When Little was about to leave, he noticed that the entrance gate was down. Little says that he had not felt anything when he drove in, but concluded he must have hit the gate. Rather than simply leaving, Little turned around, went back to the receiving door and knocked again, all while standing in a rainstorm. Little knocked for several minutes, but no one answered. He placed five or six calls to his supervisor, as he had been instructed, so that he could report this incident. When supervisor did not respond to his calls, Little drove his truck directly back to Hanes (less than two minutes away) and immediately went to find his supervisor. Little found his supervisor within a few minutes and told him that he thought that he had hit the entrance gate. Supervisor asked Little if he had damaged the truck, and if anyone had seen him hit the gate. If not, supervisor said "Then don't worry about it."

Soon after Little told Supervisor about the incident, the customer sent an email to Hanes complaining about the gate. Senior managers subsequently called Little in to discuss the accident. Little said the accident was his fault and offered to pay for the damage out of his own pocket. Hanes says that "because of the very high premium that Hanes places on good customer relations", [senior management] considered Little's failure to report the accident to [customer] before leaving the scene a terminable offense. So, after Little's termination had been approved by a review board of senior management, Little was informed that the review board had decided to terminate Little's employment with Hanes. The reason given for the termination was Little's leaving the scene without reporting the accident to the customer. According to Hanes, Little was not offered the opportunity to return to a production level position because Hanes has a longstanding policy and practice of not demoting drivers back to production positions.

In December 2015, Little filed a complaint with the EEOC alleging discrimination based on race and religion and retaliation. Little received a "right to sue" letter from the EEOC on September 28, 2017, and Little filed this lawsuit on December 22, 2017. Little alleges in this action that he was discriminated against because of his race (bi-racial) and religion (Jehovah's Witness) and that he is the victim of unlawful retaliation in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

In October 2019, the USDC summarily dismissed Little's religious discrimination and retaliation claims after finding that Little's firing had nothing to do with the events surrounding the "Christmas party", but rather were due to Little's truck accident. However, Little submitted evidence of at least two comparator Hanes drivers, both Caucasians, who possibly were just as bad at delivery driving as was Little, yet either they were not fired, or not fired as quickly as was Little. The USDC ruled that whether Little's termination had been the subject of racial discrimination was a question to be decided by a trier of fact. Pending.


SHEKINAH G. BAEZ v. PEDIATRICS 2000 is an ongoing 2019-2020 New York federal lawsuit filed by EEOC on behalf of a 23 year-old female African-American Jehovah's Witness who was employed as an administrative assistant at one of the health care provider's two Manhattan locations. EEOC alleges that early in December 2018 that employer actually told Baez to begin planning a company party to be held on a weekend later that month. Despite allegedly being told that such would not be a "holiday party", it gradually became obvious to Baez that the party included all the trappings of such an event, including planned dancing, drinking, etc. EEOC alleges that owner had long referred to Baez's religion as a "cult", and he was well aware that Baez would not attend a "holiday party". Shekinah Baez requested that she be allowed to skip the party, but was fired. Pending.

2020 UPDATE: In June 2020, the U.S. District Court entered a four-year consent decree to resolve the case. The decree gives $68,000 in lost wages and other damages for Shekinah Baez, and grants injunctive relief, including: the creation of anti-discrimination policies and procedures that commit Pediatrics 2000 to provide equal opportunity in all aspects of employment, including religious beliefs; the appointment of equal employment opportunity coordinators to investigate and resolve discrimination complaints; training for both management and employees about their rights and obligations under Title VII; an employment reference for the employee; and periodic reporting to the EEOC. According to the EEOC, Pediatrics 2000 was aware that Baez was a Jehovah's Witness when she was hired and initially accommodated her request not to work on Wednesdays due to her religious meeting on that day. But then the company placed her on probation for missing work on Wednesdays. When Baez requested to be excused from the company's holiday party for religious reasons, she was fired even though other employees were permitted to miss the party for non-religious reasons.


CHRISTINE MARIE DUSSIA v. UNIVERSAL ORLANDO was a 2017-19 Florida employment discrimination lawsuit. In March 2013, Dussia was hired to promote Universal Orlando and sell Universal tickets to tourists while working at the guest services desk in various Orlando area hotels.

Around June 2013, Dussia was given to wear a Universal lanyard specially designed for the upcoming FOURTH OF JULY holiday. Dussia was also directed to attend Universal's FOURTH OF JULY festivities so that she could speak intelligently about such to her potential customers. Dussia refused to do both, explaining that her WatchTower religious beliefs prohibited her from doing either.

After explaining such to her supervisor, Dussia had to further explain such to Universal's Human Resources, in July 2013. Dussia allegedly was told to either quit or go on 30-day unpaid administrative leave while Universal tried to find for Dussia a job that met Dussia's religious requirements. Dussia reportedly agreed to the unpaid administrative leave. Dussia alleged that she was placed on leave for two months without being offered a new job. Universal terminated Christine Dussia in October 2013.

In 2017, Christine M. Dussia, age 47, sued Universal for religious discrimination and employer retaliation. Dussia alleged that she was forced to promote holidays that violated her Jehovah's witness beliefs, and that when she refused to wear a lanyard promoting Universal's holiday events or attend those holiday celebrations, Universal retaliated against her by firing her. In April 2019, Universal settled this lawsuit under a "confidential agreement" which bars release of the amount or other details.


CYNTHIA PENA v. FIRST STATE BANK OF ODEM was a 2017-19 Texas federal employment discrimination lawsuit filed by a Jehovah's Witness former employee named Cynthia Pena. Pena claimed that she had been fired by BANK, and that such firing was illegally based on her WatchTower religion and her recent disability. BANK was caught offguard by Cynthia Pena's lawsuit given that BANK employs multiple Jehovah's Witnesses and attempts to fully accommodate WatchTower Cult practices and beliefs. Additionally, given the circumstances, BANK was under the impression that Pena had resigned if not abandoned her job.

BANK twice hired Cynthia Pena knowing that she was a JW. Bank initially hired Pena in the 1990s. She voluntarily left the Bank's employ to work elsewhere and was re-hired in 2000. At that time, she started as a teller and, through multiple promotions, eventually became Branch Manager at the Bank's Robstown branch.

On April 14, 2017, Pena was not feeling well. Her husband came to the bank, took her pulse, and declared that she was having heart palpitations and needed medical attention. Pena left with her husband and never returned to work. Thereafter, Pena did not communicate with the Bank unless its employees contacted her first. Her silence was despite her knowledge that Bank policy required doctor's notes for employees who were out sick for more than a day or two. After Pena had been absent three weeks, the Bank's Vice President of Operations requested a doctor's excuse. Pena's family doctor issued an excuse dated May 2, 2017, stating that Pena could return to work without restrictions on May 16. However, Pena never gave that excuse to Bank.

On May 11, 2017, Pena provided a doctor's excuse that said only that Pena was under the doctor's care and, "Allow her to be absent from work for 2 weeks until medically cleared." Pena did not return to work in two weeks and did not provide any additional doctor excuses or proof of medical restrictions on work.

On May 24, 2017, Pena texted the Bank's Senior Vice President and Cashier with questions about the status of her job, insurance benefits, and her COBRA rights. Pena was concerned that her job was in jeopardy because of her absence.

On June 16, 2017, Pena notified Supervisor that she had a tumor and said, "thank u for all the bank has done for me." Pena also asked Supervisor to advise her of when her paid leave would expire, which was done. Pena later admitted, "I knew my position wasn't guaranteed if I was sick." On June 17, 2017, Pena texted Supervisor that she had been diagnosed with colon cancer. Pena thanked him for being a good boss and told him she had enjoyed working at the bank. Pena also wrote, "maybe some day I will return & get the opportunity to work again." Pena filed a claim for long term disability insurance with the Bank's cooperation in providing the necessary forms and urging her to submit the claim right away. Pena also applied for and received unemployment insurance benefits. Bank paid Pena through July, based on her remaining sick leave and annual leave benefits.

On August 3, 2017, Bank advised Pena that Bank had to clean out Pena's office. The next day, August 4, Pena went to the Bank to clear out the desk herself, shredding notes about Bank operations that she had kept for her personal use. At that point, Pena had not previously presented herself as ready, willing, and able to return to work. However, Pena went to VP's office that day to tell him she was fine and ready to come back to work. On the following Monday, August 7, Pena initiated contact with supervisors, claiming that she was ready to return to work, but she did not yet have a doctor's release.

Two days later, Cynthia Pena reportedly hired an attorney to help her pursue a claim of employment discrimination against Bank after allegedly having spoke with a former Bank VP who suggested that the Bank had discriminated against Pena because of her Jehovah's Witness faith. Pena filed her EEOC Charge of Discrimination on November 10, 2017.

It is undisputed that Bank re-hired Pena in 2000, after she had left for another job, knowing that she was a Jehovah's Witness, and that Bank employs other Jehovah's Witnesses. It is further undisputed that Bank permitted Pena to take a week off every year, with pay, to attend the Jehovah's Witness annual convention.

However, Pena alleges a number of instances regarding a Bank supervisor, who had retired in 2012, who taunted Pena because Jehovah's Witnesses do not celebrate holidays. In particular, one supervisor questioned whether Pena could accept a full-size poinsettia given one time to all employees in anticipation of the Christmas holiday by a bank director. Pena accepted such. On another occasion, same supervisor deliberately excluded Pena from the count of employees to receive a customer-supplied poinsettia. Same supervisor also teased Pena about receiving annual "Christmas" bonuses like the rest of the employees.

Corina Garcia, the Bank's former Vice President of Operations, testified that another branch manager told her that Chairman of the Board Buddy Wood, his administrative assistant, and Bank VP were prejudiced against Pena because of her religion and that Garcia should anticipate obstacles to any effort she might make to further promote Pena. Bank VP specifically objected to Pena getting paid leave on the Fourth of July week every year to attend the Jehovah's Witness convention, and he wanted to ensure that if any other more senior employee wanted to take that week off, that no preference should be given to Pena.

In September 2019, the USDC summarily dismissed this lawsuit in its entirety.


GUELDA E. BROWN v. MONTEFIORE MEDICAL CENTER ET AL is an ongoing 2018-20 New York federal employment discrimination lawsuit. Guelda Brown brings this lawsuit against Montefiore Medical Center and five current and retired Montefiore coworkers and supervisors. Brown claims that she was discriminated against based on her African-Dominican heritage, based on her religious beliefs as a Jehovah's Witness, and based on her gender. Brown asserts claims under Title VII, under the New York State Human Rights Law (NYSHRL); and under the New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL). Brown also claims that she was denied medical leave in violation of the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Brown's Amended Complaint asserts state law claims for assault, negligence, and breach of contract.

Guelda E. Brown is a 53 year-old African-Dominican woman born in the United States. Brown began working at Montefiore in 1995 as a medical secretary. In 2008, Brown became a senior clerk in the Medical Center's Home Care department. In 2013, Brown converted to the Jehovah's Witness religion. Of the five current and retired Montefiore coworkers and supervisors named in this lawsuit, two coworkers are African-American females, one supervisor is Asian male, one supervisor was a white female, and one coworker was a white male.

Brown claims that throughout her employment she was actively and consistently harassed, discriminated against, and retaliated against as a result of her African-Dominican heritage. Such only worsened after Brown became a Jehovah's Witness. Examples of such include: Dominicans were spoken of disparagingly. Brown alleges that she was forbidden to speak Spanish at any time with coworkers permitted to speak Spanish. Brown claims that during every Christmas season that she was asked why she didn't celebrate Christmas. In 2016, Brown's supervisor allegedly gave nice Christmas gifts to everyone else in the department except Brown. In 2017, Brown was excluded from a department photograph intended to be used as a Christmas decoration. Brown complains that training and advancement opportunities were kept from her. Deserved medical and family leave was denied. Etc. Etc.

By 2018, Brown could no longer handle the stress. Brown's psychiatrist recommended 30 days leave. Brown requested and was granted a job transfer. By April 2018, Brown was unable to work at Montefiore. Brown has been on unpaid leave since.

Guelda Brown filed a charge of discrimination with the EEOC on March 28, 2018. EEOC chose not to prosecute, but issued a Right-To-Sue letter on April 17, 2018. Brown filed this lawsuit that same day. The USDC referred such to Magistrate Judge Parker, who after allowing multiple amendments issued a Report and Recommendation recommending that the parties' motions be granted in part and denied in part. In 2019, Brown's claims for sex discrimination under Title VII, breach of contract, assault, and negligence were dismissed with prejudice by the USDC. Brown's sex discrimination claims under the NYSHRL and the NYCHRL, and her FMLA claim, were dismissed with leave to amend. Pending.


DIERDRA A. BREWSTER v. NORTH CAROLINA SECRETARY OF STATE was a 2018-2019 employment discrimination lawsuit filed by a 58 year-old female African-American Jehovah's Witness employee named Dierdra Brewster, who had been employed by SOS since 2004. Despite her work experience, the USDC was unable to figure out from her lengthy complaint exactly why Brewster left her job, or even about what Brewster was complaining.

Dierdra Brewster seems to have left SOS voluntarily in February 2018, but she contends that she left because she could no longer tolerate the hostile work environment. Brewster then filed four EEOC charges of discrimination: (1) one charge alleged adverse employment action based on sex, age, and in retaliation for her complaint about work conditions; (2) one charge alleged discrimination based on a disability and race; (3) one charge alleged adverse employment action based on religion, age, and for retaliation; and (4) one charge alleged religious discrimination. The EEOC dismissed at least three of four charges and issued "right-to-sue" letters. The record is not clear as to what happened with the fourth charge.

Brewster filed this lawsuit against the SOS in September 2018. Brewster attached a narrative explanation of her claims that exceeded 100 pages. While Brewster brought claims for religious discrimination, age discrimination, and retaliation, she failed to produce any evidence to survive summary judgment. Using either Brewster's lengthy attachment to her complaint, her opposition brief, or her statement of material fact, the USDC was unable to discern the facts that form the basis of her claims. Reading SOS's summary judgment brief and statement of material facts, the USDC assumed that Brewster's religious discrimination claim had something to do with SOS's policies regarding holidays, and that Brewster's age discrimination claim involved Brewster's perception that younger employees were afforded increased responsibilities. The basis for Brewster's retaliation claim seems to be Brewster's belief that SOS gave negative information about her to prospective employers. SOS produced evidence about these policies supporting its assertion that they are not discriminatory. While Brewster seems to dispute SOS's characterization of her charges, the USDC was unable to discern the precise nature of the dispute.

While pro se litigants are entitled to a certain amount of leniency from the courts, Brewster's pro se status did not relieve her of the responsibility to state her claims with at least minimal clarity and produce evidence supporting those claims in order to survive summary judgment. Brewster produced neither direct evidence of discrimination nor made a prima facie showing under the McDonnell Douglas framework. The USDC summarily dismissed Brewster's lawsuit in its entirety.


DONALD MCGILL v. SPRUCEDALE CARE CENTRE was a 2017-19 Canadian Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario decision in which a Jehovah's Witness musician filed a complaint against a senior citizen's facility which had previously hired him to perform for its residents. Due to failure of the decision to specify exactly why -- other than the fact that Don McGill was a Jehovah's Witness -- officials at Sprucedale refused to further hire Donald McGill after his last performance sometime prior to April 2016. McGill failed to file this complaint until after the statute of limitations had expired -- in July 2017. Case dismissed in 2019.


KIM J. KIMBERLY v. HORIZON FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT is an ongoing 2016-18 Indiana federal employment discrimination lawsuit. An African-American Jehovah's Witness named Kim Kimberly, age 57, of Hobart, Indiana, was hired by Horizon in August 2012. In October 2014, Kimberly was promoted to Floor Supervisor. Prior to accepting that promotion, Kimberly reminded her Supervisor that she was a Jehovah's Witness, and that she would not participate in the celebration of holidays. Supervisor agreed. However, only a few days later, in November 2014, Supervisor asked Kimberly to help decorate the company Xmas Tree. Kimberly refused. In December 2014, Supervisor asked Kimberly to judge the company's "Ugly Sweater"contest, which Kimberly considered to be part of Horizon's Christmas celebration. Kimberly refused. Shortly thereafter, Supervisor asked Kimberly to participate in various birthday celebrations. Kimberly refused.

Some time thereafter, Kimberly offered, and Supervisor accepted, some WatchTower literature which more fully explained Kimberly's position as to the celebration of holidays and birthdays. Kimberly's supervisor thereafter began to question Kimberly about her religious beliefs during walks they took together during breaks. (Interestingly, such questioning is exactly what the WatchTower Cult wishes to happen to its members whom are making themselves a "spectacle" at their workplace. See Home Page remarks.However, in her lawsuit, Kimberly paints such questioning as being "unwelcomed"; paints her replies as being "forced"; and claims that such conversations were "harassment".)

All went well until September 2015, when Supervisor planned a day when all employees could dress up for Halloween. Kimberly did not participate. Neither did one of Kimberly's co-workers named Tykeyia Harmon, whom although claiming not to be a Jehovah's Witness, did so for "religious reasons". Kimberly's third quarter 2015 performance evaluation was lower than previous evaluations. Kimberly requested an explanation, but allegedly received none. Two weeks after that evaluation, Kimberly complained to Horizon's Director of Operations. Kimberly was fired the next day -- allegedly for calling a co-worker "ghetto", and allegedly for making derogatory remarks about a co-worker's religion.

Two weeks later, in October 2015, Kim Kimberly and Tykeyia Harmon traveled together to Indianapolis where they both filed complaints with the Indiana Civil Rights Commission and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Despite what appears from the reading of Kimberley's complaint to be a slam-dunk case, after a lengthy investigation, EEOC decided not to pursue Kimberly's case, but rather issued to Kimberly a Right-To-Sue Letter in August 2016.

Kimberly filed this federal lawsuit in November 2016. Kimberly's complaint alleged religious discrimination and retaliation, racial discrimination and retaliation, and intentional infliction of mental and emotional distress. In November 2017, the USDC dismissed the retaliation claim which related to the religious discrimination claim due to legal technicalities. The balance of Kimberly's lawsuit is still pending.



BASHEGA A. MITCHELL v. AMERICAN EAGLE AIRLINES was a 2015-17 Louisiana federal employment discrimination lawsuit filed by a female African-American Jehovah's Witness named Bashega Mitchell, age 49, of Baton Rouge, Lousiana. Bashega Mitchell began working as a gate agent for American Airlines at the Baton Rouge airport in 1996, and apparently all had gone well until 2011. On March 21, 2011, Bashega Mitchell was demoted from her position as "Lead Agent" for allegedly allowing a co-worker to clock-in late, and for allegedly falsifying records related to that incident. Two months later, on May 18, 2011, Bashega Mitchell suffered some type of back injury. Mitchell was medically accommodated by being placed on light duty status, which wound up lasting until February 8, 2012.

INTERESTINGLY, Bashega Mitchell's later claim of religious discrimination arose from the company's 2011 CHRISTMASPARTY. After Mitchell informed her supervisor that she could not attend the 2011 Christmas party due to Mitchell's (apparently newfound) WatchTower beliefs which prohibit the celebration of Xmas, Mitchell's supervisor scheduled Mitchell to work the ticket counter alone, while Mitchell's co-workers attended the 2011 Xmas party. The USDC was befuddled how Bashega Mitchell found this to be religious discrimination, stating in part, "Mitchell, however, fails to demonstrate how working during a Christmas party is a cognizable adverse employment action under the law."

On June 23, 2011, Mitchell filed a complaint with EEOC claiming that her demotion had been a form of racial discrimination. On February 9, 2012, Mitchell was placed on permanent medical leave. On July 2, 2012, Mitchell filed an amended complaint with EEOC wherein she broadened her claim to include discrimination based upon sex, religion, unfair working conditions, hostile work environment, and retaliation. Bashega Mitchell was terminated on February 9, 2014, per AEA's established policy of terminating employees who were unable to return to work following a two year period of medical leave. On April 20, 2015, EEOC issued Mitchell a "Right to Sue Letter".

On November 10, 2015, Mitchell filed this federal lawsuit claiming that she was discriminated against based upon race, religion, disability, and sex. In August 2016, the USDC summarily dismissed Mitchell's wrongful demotion claim and those discrimination and retaliation claims that occurred prior to the employer's Bankruptcy Petition Date -- November 29, 2011. In June 2017, the USDC summarily dismissed the rest of Bashega Mitchell's claims.


JOHNNIE IVEY JOHNSON v. PITT COUNTY BOARD OF EDUCATION ET AL was a 2012-14 North Carolina federal employment discrimination lawsuit filed by a male African-American Jehovah's Witness Minister named Johnnie Ivey Johnson, aka Dillar Johnson, then age 52, of Greenville, North Carolina. Incomplete details. Johnnie I. Johnson was approved as a "Substitute Teacher" by the Pitt County North Carolina Board of Education in 2004, after Johnson took "early retirement" from a fulltime teaching position in Virginia sometime prior to 2002.

Around 2011-12, Johnnie Johnson was deleted from the substitute teachers list for Aycock Middle School -- possibly at the request of the school's Principal. Relating to such, in 2012, Johnson filed a complaint with the EEOC claiming employment discrimination. Later, in 2012, Johnson filed this federal lawsuit. Specific charges unknown.

Shortly after the filing of the 2012 lawsuit, the Principal of Eastern Elementary School also submitted to the Board a negative evaluation of Johnson that included a request that Johnson be deleted from the substitute teachers list for Eastern Elementary School. That request was approved by the Board's Director of Personnel. Johnson's federal lawsuit was amended to include charges relating to his removal from that second school's list. Johnson allegd that his constitutional right to due process had been violated, that he had been defamed, and that he had been the victim of retaliation.

In November 2013, the USDC ruled against Johnnie Ivey Johnson, and that decision was affirmed on Johnson's appeal by the USCA, in July 2014.

JOHNNIE IVEY JOHNSON v. PITT COUNTY BOARD OF EDUCATION ET AL was a second 2016-17 North Carolina federal employment discrimination lawsuit filed by Johnnie Ivey Johnson, then age 55, against his continuing parttime employer. In September 2015, the Principal of Farmville Middle School requested that Johnnie Ivey Johnson be deleted from the substitute teachers list for Farmville Middle School. That request was accompanied by an evaluation of Johnson that allegedly documented seven (7) incidents of tardiness, including one in which the Principal had already requested a replacement for Johnson by the time that Johnson arrived at work. Johnson's performance was rated as "Below Standard" in numerous categories, and included several concerns from students regarding Johnson's behavior.

In October 2015, while substituting at Rose High School, during a World History class that taught that the celebration of Christmas was part of worldwide Christianity, a student asked Johnnie Johnson "why he did not celebrate Christmas". (How did students know that Johnson did not celebrate Christmas?) Johnson stated that he did not celebrate Christmas because it derived from "non-Christian, or rather pagan traditions". When the Principal learned that Johnson had contradicted the lesson plan, Johnson was called into the Principal's office. The Principal informed Johnson that his statements to the class concerning Christmas had been inappropriate, and that she was going to request that Johnson be deleted from the substitute teachers list for Rose High School. Johnson told the Principal not to remove him from the list because he had not been "promoting or opposing any religion". While the Principal never did officially request that Johnson be removed from her school's list, that Principal personally canceled Johnson's assignments on six or more later occasions.

In February 2016, Johnnie Ivey Johnson filed an EEOC claim alleging age discrimination, religious discrimination, and retaliation. Johnson alleged that his removal from the substitute teachers list at Farmville Middle School and the cancellations of his assignments at Rose High School were both done in retaliation against Johnson for filing the previous 2012 EEOC claim; that the cancellations of his assignments at Rose High School were discriminatory against Johnson for being a Jehovah's Witness who does not celebrate Christmas; and that the cancellations of his assignments at Rose High School discriminated against Johnson based on his age. Johnson did not assert race discrimination in the EEOC charge, but Johnson's EEOC claim fleetingly referred to the Principal at Rose High School as discriminating against Johnson because he is black, and by replacing Johnson with caucasian substitutes 3-4 of the five times she had canceled his assignments.

On May 3, 2016, Johnnie I. Johnson received a "Right-To-Sue Letter from the EEOC, which dismissed his complaint. On July 28, 2016, Johnson filed this federal lawsuit claiming that the Board and various employees violated his First Amendment right to free speech, violated his Fourteenth Amendment right to procedural due process, retaliation against him over the 2012 lawsuit, and discriminated against him due to his age and race. Johnson sought $75,000.00 in compensatory damages and $75,000.00 in punitive damages. Johnson also requested an injunction requiring school principals to confer with substitute teachers regarding all performance concerns before requesting that substitutes be removed from the list of available substitutes. In May 2017, the USDC dismissed all of Johnson's claims.


RICHARD APPLEYARD v. MURPHY OIL USA is an ongoing 2016 Tennessee federal employment discrimination lawsuit filed by a male Jehovah's Witness named Richard T. Appleyard, age 64, currently of Savannah, Tennessee. Richard Appleyard was employed as a cashier by Murphy Oil in June 2009 at its Russellville, Alabama convenience store location. In 2012, Appleyard transferred to Murphy's Savannah, Tenneesee store. Richard Appleyard was fired by Murphy in October 2014 after Appleyard's cash register allegedly came up "short".

Richard Appleyard alleges that cash register "shortage" allegations were nothing unusual for either himself or other cashiers, but rather was a pretext to fire Appleyard because he was a Jehovah's Witness. Appleyard further alleges that Murphy typically required both himself and other cashiers who came up "short" to work "off the clock" to make up for such shortages. Appleyard's lawsuit also seeks damages under the Fair Labor Standards Act for both Appleyard and other similarly situated employees who allegedly were forced to work without overtime compensation.

Richard Appleyard further alleges that Murphy's District Manager first began making disparaging comments about the Jehovah's Witnesses and Appleyard's WatchTower beliefs and practices "soon" after he was employed in 2009. However, Appleyard's lawsuit cites no specific instances of discrimination until 2013, when during some unspecified time during the Christmas holiday season Appleyard was admonished by both the District Manager and the Store Manager for refusing to greet store customers with "Merry Christmas". However, no other action was then taken against Appleyard.

In October 2014, Appleyard was fired by the District Manager due to the alleged cash register shortage. Richard Appleyard thereafter filed an employment discrimination complaint with the EEOC, but after their investigation the EEOC decided NOT to pursue a discrimination case against Murphy itself, instead issuing Appleyard a Right-To-Sue Letter. Appleyard and his attorney then filed this lawsuit in November 2016.



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Jehovah's Witnesses and the Problem of Mental Illness

The Theocratic War Doctrine: Why Jehovah's Witnesses Lie In Court



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