For decades, the WatchTower Society has continuously pounded into the heads of Jehovah's Witnesses that they must "be no part of the world". However, as the need suits them, the WatchTower Society has gradually shortened the list of the plethora of prohibitions as to what JWs cannot do and what worldly organizations that JWs cannot join.
We are pleased to announce that, evidently, it is NOW acceptable in "WatchTower World" for Jehovah's Witnesses to be "elected" to the Board of Directors of their local Chamber of Commerce.
In 2011, William Duquette, is a former WATCHTOWER BETHELITE who recently worked for the WatchTower Society as an Associate General Counsel at the world headquarters of the WatchTower Society's Legal Department in Patterson, New York, was "elected" to the Board of Directors of the Pine Bush, New York Chamber of Commerce. Brother Duquette is a real estate specialist, who reportedly worked on the $205,000,000.00 sale of the WatchTower Society's Furman Street warehouse, in 2004. Brother Duquette recently relocated from Patterson to the Pine Bush area, where he found employment at a large, prominent regional law firm.
Pine Bush, New York is the municipality which is located less than 3 miles from WATCHTOWER FARMS, where there has been much recent expansion, with much more expansion likely planned given the WatchTower Society's announced exodus from Brooklyn.
CONNECTICUT v. JORDAN JOHNSON. WATCHTOWER BETHELITE Jordan Johnson was reportedly criminally prosecuted and found guilty of vehicular manslaughter. He reportedly was sentenced to only 30 days in jail, but with two years probation.
ELIAS MIRABAL v. HERB CHAMBERS OF AUBURN, INC., ET AL is an ongoing 2009-2012 Massachusetts federal court case. Elias Mirabal was employed by Herb Chambers in April 2008. Mirabal alleges that his supervisor quickly started verbally harassing Mirabal due to his Jehovah's Witness beliefs. Mirabal further alleges that, in August 2008, that his supervisor physically assaulted him in what may have been inappropriate horseplay. Mirabal was terminated in January 2009. In March 2009, Mirabal filed a Discrimination complaint with E.E.O.C. A federal lawsuit was filed in August 2011 against both the employer and the supervisor. The USDC dismissed the supervisor from the lawsuit in March 2012. Outcome unknown.
DEIDRA A. LINTZ v. UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE was a 2009-2012 California federal lawsuit filed by a 53 year-old African-American Jehovah's Witness female living in Elk Grove, California. Deidra Lintz is a former longterm USPS employee who lost a lengthy court case with USPS, in which, at various points, she alleged religious discrimination, racial discrimination, age discrimination, mental disability discrimination, physical disability discrimination, retaliation for prior and current EEOC activity, etc.
Deidra Lintz was hired by USPS in 1987 as a "Letter Carrier" at its Mountain View, California facility. In 1992, Lintz suffered an on-the-job injury which caused a hip bruise and a lumbar and knee strain, and was placed on "limited duty". Lintz thereafter intermittently missed work during the next two years. In May 1994, Lintz injured her right shoulder and neck while on the job and filed a second worker's compensation claim. Lintz was off work for 2 1/2 years while participating in vocational rehabilitation and training. Her treating physician ultimately determined that as a result of her injuries, Lintz was permanently unable to perform the duties of her position as a letter carrier. From 1996 until her termination in 2008, Lintz worked at a number of different central California facilities, including at what USPS later characterized as "make-work" positions designed to accommodate Lintz's various "injuries". In 2007, Lintz filed a third Worker's Compensation claim which was initially denied, but from which "injury" Lintz never returned to work. USPS terminated Lintz in November 2008 for missing one continuous year of work.
DEIDRA A. LINTZ v. SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION is an ongoing 2011-13 California federal lawsuit in which Deidra Lintz currently has her legal sights set on the Social Security Administration. Current status unknown.
THOMAS A. WOODWARD v. KALEIDA HEALTH was a 2009-2012 New York federal court decision in which an African-American Jehovah's Witness named Thomas Woodward claimed racial, color, and gender discrimination, and further claimed that he mistakingly failed to include religious discrimination, national origin discrimination, age discrimination, and even sexual orientation discrimination in his lawsuit. This lawsuit was dismissed when the USDC granted Kaleida Health's motion for summary judgement.
Tom Woodward was employed as a printer operator at Kaleida Health's Flint Road laboratory processing center from 1991 to 2008. In August 2008, a white female coworker, named Amanda Frese, complained to her Supervisor that Woodward had showed her a cellphone photo of himself and a naked female engaging in sex. Frese also complained that this was not the first time that Woodward had acted inappropriately toward her. Woodward was suspended pending the employer's investigation. The investigation found that Frese was afraid of Woodward, who had previously asked a coworker where Frese went running, and then showed up at that location. Frese further reported that prior to the photograph incident, she had asked Woodward to leave her alone, as had at least two other coworkers. Woodward denied showing Frese a photo which included any nudity or sexual behavior, but did acknowledge that a photo shown to Frese was offensive to Frese. Woodward was thereafter terminated.
In December 2008, Thomas Woodward filed charges of racial discrimination and gender discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and with the New York State Division of Human Rights. The EEOC concluded that the Employer had provided a non-discriminatory reason for Woodward's termination. In July 2009, Woodward commenced his own lawsuit against Kaleida Health. The USDC concluded that the reason for Woodward's termination was his conduct in violation of the Employer's Non-Harassment and Standards of Personal Conduct policies.
WOODWARD v. NEW YORK was a related Unemployment Compensation lawsuit. The New York State Department of Labor initially disqualified Woodward from receiving unemployment benefits following his termination. However, on appeal, an Administrative Law Judge for the Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board reversed the NYDOL determination. The ALJ determined that the initial denial of benefits was based upon the finding that Woodward "harassed a coworker after being asked to leave her alone," but concluded that the determination neglected to consider that the warnings came from colleagues and not a supervisor. The USDC gave that ALJ finding no weight in the discrimination lawsuit against Kaleida.
ARRA M. LAWSON and MELISSA LAWSON v. CHELSEA BAR & BILLIARDS was a 2000-2004 New York federal lawsuit in which an African-American Jehovah's Witness husband and wife sued the husband's former NYC employer, who had contested Lawson's claim for unemployment compensation benefits, and had filed a criminal charge of petit larceny against Lawson. In this federal lawsuit, the Lawsons alleged "breach of employment contract" and "wrongful discharge", "malicious prosecution", "intentional infliction of emotional distress", "slander" and "libel", and even "loss of consortium".
Interestingly, this August 2004 USDC opinion mentions allegations of racism by the Lawsons, yet there is no mention of Lawson ever having filed any complaint of racial or religious discrimination with any NYC, state, or federal agency. Neither is there any mention of any investigation of racial or religious discrimination by a NYC agency, NY state agency, nor the federal E.E.O.C.
In May 2000, Arra M. Lawson was hired as the first Executive Chef for the newly opening NYC pool hall, bar, and restaurant. Compensation terms were disputed during the eventual legal proceedings. Lawson was fired via telephone on December 11, 2000, after the owner allegedly claimed that Lawson had taken food from the kitchen. On December 12, 2000, Arra Lawson, accompanied by his wife, Melissa Lawson, retrieved his belongings from Chelsea Bar & Billiards. Items removed by Lawson eventually became a matter of legal dispute.
On January 1, 2001, Arra Lawson and Melissa Lawson went to Chelsea Bar & Billiards to photograph the menu created by Lawson, which was still hanging in Chelsea's window. On January 2, 2001, Melissa Lawson alleged that she received a phone call from Chelsea's owner, who allegedly stated that he would have Lawson arrested for photographing the menu, and that everyone would believe his accusations because Lawson is "young and black."
On January 8, 2001, Arra M. Lawson received a telephone call from the NYC Police informing Lawson that he was being charged with theft in connection with items missing from Chelsea based on a criminal complaint filed by one of Chelsea's managers. On January 9, 2001, Arra Lawson voluntarily surrendered and was charged with one count of petit larceny. That criminal case was eventually dismissed on the motion of the District Attorney.
After Arra Lawson was terminated, Lawson applied to the New York State Department of Labor for unemployment benefits. After receiving benefits for a period of time, Lawson's application was denied based on a challenge brought by the Employer. The denial was overturned at a Hearing, but was upheld after Employer appealed.
In August 2004, the USDC granted the Employer's request for summary dismissal of Lawson's charges of "breach of employment contract" and "wrongful discharge", "intentional infliction of emotional distress", "slander" and "libel", and "loss of consortium". The USDC allowed only the charge of "malicious prosecution" to go forward. Outcome unknown.
GREGORY P. MARRON v. EBY-BROWN COMPANY was a 2011-13 Illinois federal lawsuit. In June 2007, a Jehovah's Witness named Gregory Marron began employment as an IT Network Manager for Eby-Brown. Greg Marron alleged that he experienced criticism and daily harassment by his coworkers and management officials on account of his WatchTower religion. Marron allegedly reported the criticisms and harassment to Eby-Brown management, but no remedial action was taken. Allegedly, Marron's reporting resulted in even more criticism and harassment. Marron alleged that in December 2010, Eby-Brown terminated his employment because of his religious beliefs.
In January 2011, Greg Marron filed a charge of religious discrimination and retaliation, and received a right-to-sue letter that same month. In April 2011, Marron filed a six-count federal lawsuit alleging discrimination in violation of Title VII (Count I), retaliation in violation of Title VII (Count II), breach of contract (Count III), wrongful discharge (Count IV), defamation (Count V), and violation of the Illinois Human Rights Act (Count VI). In January 2012, the USDC dismissed Counts III and VI due to multiple flaws in Marron's complaint. The lawsuit continued on the remaining counts and those dismissed counts for which Marron might have cured identified deficiencies via amendment. In March 2013, in an opinion which again criticized Marron's legal filings (actually quotes and mocks the content, or lack thereof), the USDC granted summary judgment to Eby-Brown Company on Marron's remaining claims.
ATTENTION: LAW PROFESSORS, LAW STUDENTS, JUDGES, PROSECUTORS, DEFENSE ATTORNEYS, ALLRIDGE FAMILY MEMBERS, DEATH PENALTY OPPONENTS, and OTHERS INTERESTED IN THE JAMES VERNON ALLRIDGE CASE.
We just discovered in 2014 that the "venireperson" named "THEODORE KELKER", who is mentioned in James Vernon Allridge's APPEAL possibly also had JEHOVAH'S WITNESS connections as did the Allridge family. "THEODORE KELKER" are the names of a GrandFather, Father, and Son with "Jehovah's Witness connections" who all lived in Texas at the time of this trial -- one or more in the Fort Worth area, the site of this trial. The believed-to-be "Father", Theodore Kelker Jr., was born in 1951, in Pueblo, Colorado, where this branch of the Kelker family originated. (The Colorado GreatGrandFather's name is believed to have been "John Theodore Kelker".) GrandFather and Father Kelkers relocated from Colorado to the Houston, Texas area sometime in the 1960s. The first indication of a JW connection for the Kelker Family that we found was in 1968 when "Ted Kelker" served as a groomsman at a Kingdom Hall wedding held in Houston. Those familiar with Jehovah's Witnesses know that to be a member of a Kingdom Hall wedding party that person must be an "exemplary" Jehovah's Witness. While Father/Jr would have have 16 years-old at the time, thus possibly a friend of the groom, per his Obit, he was not baptized until around 1973. Thus, "Ted Kelker" could have been "GrandFather", or if "GrandFather" was an Elder, an exception might have been made for "Jr" to serve in the party.
Interestingly, the Allridge family also lived in the Pueblo, Colorado "area" during the 1950s and 1960s. James V. Allridge was born in Colorado Springs in 1962. The Allridge Family relocated from Colorado to the Fort Worth, Texas area around 1967, after the father retired early from the military on disability. The first indication of a JW connection for the Allridge Family that we found was when the "Mother" was baptized as a JW in 1971.
Even if the Kelker and Allridge families never ever crossed paths in Colorado, nor even in Texas at the plethora of JW circuit and district meetings, what are the odds that someone from a TEXAS JEHOVAH'S WITNESS FAMILY could sit on the JAMES ALLRIDGE JURY and not know that James Vernon Allridge had been reared as a Jehovah's Witness given the widespread notoriety of the two Jehovah's Witness Allridge "brothers". Such a widely publicized murder-crime spree would have been at the top of the list of JW gossip in Texas during all of the latter 1980s.
We do not know in which stages of James Allridge's prosecution that his having been reared as a "Jehovah's Witness" was disclosed. Neither do we know if the religious background of venireperson "THEODORE KELKER" was disclosed during jury selection. However, just about everyone connected with the judicial process knows that the vast majority of Jehovah's Witness Venirepersons disclose their religious background during the jury selection process and use such as an excuse to be excused from sitting on a jury -- especially a criminal court jury. If venireperson "THEODORE KELKER" was reared as a Jehovah's Witness, and he had disclosed that fact during jury selection or during the trial, do you not suppose that James Allridge would have used such fact as part of his appeal???
WHY would someone who is either an ACTIVE JEHOVAH'S WITNESS, or who had himself been reared as a Jehovah's Witness, want to serve on, or remain on, this CAPITAL MURDER case Jury??? Was there a hidden agenda???
"I was raised a Jehovah's Witness and I spent 13 years of my life, knocking on people's doors, pursuing my classmates down the hall and walking up to strangers, trying to convince them that my religion's, my way of thinking and believing was the only true religion, and if they didn't believe, then they were doomed. I walked around with a little smug self-assurance that I had a secret that they didn't, because I knew I was going to live in paradise and they were going to be destroyed. And then I learned that everything I had been taught to believe to be true, was not only inaccurate and manipulations of the Scriptures, but outright lies in some instances. I was disillusioned for some time, but I kept searching because I've always felt God's hand on me. I can't really explain that statement but I just felt it."
"I always thought James' family structure was strange. James' mother was extremely fanatic about her religion She was a Jehovah's Witness. I remember James' mother as being extremely controlling. Her views were so extreme that sometimes I felt that she was like David Koresh. I always felt that James missed out on a lot when he was growing up because of his mother's fanaticism. He didn't celebrate birthdays or holidays. He never went out to eat and always wore hand-me-downs. Through our friendship, James was exposed to things he had never been exposed to, such as birthdays and holidays. James discovered a whole new life, which he seemed to embrace. For example, James started celebrating birthdays and holidays, but always had to do so secretly for fear that his mother would find out. When I knew James, James had very low self-esteem. I think the fact that he was very skinny and had very poor skin contributed to his low self-esteem. James was desperate for friends."
LIMON v. CITY OF LIBERAL KANSAS was a 2002-3 federal lawsuit which involved a Jehovah's Witness Employee named Francisco Limon. Francisco Limon was employed by the City of Liberal, Kansas for over 20 years, and was the Superintendent of the Water Department for several years, until he was fired in October 1999.
Following his termination, Limon filed a complaint with the Kansas Human Rights Commission (KHRC) and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), alleging employment discrimination based on his Hispanic race and WatchTower religion. Several months later, Limon filed another complaint with the KHRC and the EEOC alleging that the City retaliated against him by giving unfavorable references to prospective employers. Limon filed this federal lawsuit in January 2002. In May 2003, the USDC summarily dismissed Limon's lawsuit, stating in part:
"... In its motion for summary judgment, Liberal has provided evidence in the form of depositions, affidavits, and other documentation to show that Limon was terminated for failing to properly supervise his department. ... Liberal has shown that Limon's subordinates intentionally entered false water meter readings into the city's billing system. ...
"Liberal presented evidence that these and other problems with Limon's department significantly contributed to a shortfall of over $360,000 in the city's water revenue. ... When personnel were deployed to correct the problem by actually reading the meters, Liberal was confronted with numerous irate citizens who were now being hit with exorbitant water bills. ... The bills were extremely high because Limon's department had underestimated the actual water consumption when the readers were guessing at the meter values. ... When an accurate measurement was finally obtained, several months of under-billing had to be made up in a single month's bill. ... Many customers were unable to afford such a payment. ... Others had recently moved to their new homes, and felt that a majority of the bill was due to prior owners. ... As a result, Liberal was forced to write off a substantial portion of the billing errors. ... Due to this unanticipated revenue shortfall, Liberal's bond rating was downgraded, resulting in higher interest costs on its debt. ...
"After discovering the problems in Limon's department, [Limon's Supervisor, Jean] Webb concluded that Limon was derelict in his duties ... and placed him on six months probation. ... Limon was given a letter addressing his shortfalls and giving him explicit, detailed instructions on what he had to do in order to keep his job. ... He was told that his primary responsibility was to get accurate readings for all the water meters. ... Even though Limon knew that his job was on the line over these meter readings, he failed to demonstrate that he was taking it seriously. On the contrary, he took away a truck that was key to transporting the meter readers to the meter sites. ... Additionally, the handheld units were not being fully deployed to catch up on readings, but were sometimes left in the office, unused. ... Therefore, Liberal concluded that Limon had violated the terms of his probation, and terminated his employment. ...
"Overall, Limon's failure to supervise his department caused substantial harm to Liberal. Therefore, the court finds that Liberal had a legitimate, nondiscriminatory motive for placing Limon on probation and for ultimately terminating his employment. ... ... ...
"... Liberal has presented evidence that the person soliciting the reference was not a genuine prospective employer, but was actually a private investigator retained by Limon. ... Moreover, Liberal's description of the exchange between Limon's investigator and Liberal's employee suggests that the investigator may have intended to elicit unfavorable information regarding Limon's discrimination claims in order to entrap Liberal. ... Regardless of whether the latter suggestion is true, the fact that the investigator had no intention of hiring Limon and his call was itself pretextual, a mere sham, shows that Liberal's actions were not an adverse employment action. ... Since the investigator had no intention of hiring Limon, Liberal's actions could not possibly affect the terms, privileges, duration, or conditions of Limon's future employment. ...Therefore, Limon has failed to provide evidence of an adverse employment action that would support a prima facie case of retaliation ... .
"Liberal has demonstrated that 'there is no genuine issue as to any material fact' on the retaliation claim, and that Liberal 'is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.'"
BLOUNT v. D. CANALE BEVERAGES, INC. was a 2002-3 Tennessee federal court case which involved an African-American Jehovah's Witness named Ivy Blount and his former employer D. Canale Beverages, Inc. Blount alleged that Canale Beverages discriminated against him on the basis of his race in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964; that Canale Beverages retaliated against him in violation of Title VII; that Canale Beverages discriminated against him on the basis of his disability (depression) in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act; plus a whole host of other allegations which were quickly dismissed. The USDC granted Canale Beverages' motion for summary judgment.
Blount was first employed by Canale Beverages, an Anheuser-Busch distributor for the Memphis area, in 1987. Starting as a third-shift warehouse laborer, Blount was promoted over the years until he became a route salesperson in 1999. A brief reference in the linked decision seems to indicate that it was around this same time that Blount started the process required to join the Jehovah's Witnesses. It was also around this same time that Blount started having problems with his managers, supervisors, and co-workers.
Blount first claimed racial discrimination and harassment in October 1999. In August 2001, Blount filed formal charges with the EEOC and the Tennessee Human Rights Commission. Around this same time, Blount's own psychologist requested that Blount be placed on medical leave for his own safety, and the safety of Blount's co-workers and supervisors. Blount was suspended due to alleged threats of violence. Blount filed for and received some disability payments for his "depression" through Canale's insurance carrier despite the fact that it was later learned that Blount was employed at a local retail store. Blount was eventually terminated in January 2002 on the basis of his previous threats of violence, and for discrepancies in his route accounting that were discovered during an audit of all route salespersons. Thereafter, Blount filed a second series of allegations with EEOC and THRC. EEOC issued a Right To Sue Letter in July 2002, and this lawsuit followed in October 2002.
"The Court finds that there is no indication in the record that Plaintiff was treated differently from non-protected employees as it relates to her sick leave, her personal leave, and failure to reapply for a position with the company. ... Plaintiff has not shown how any previous allegations of discrimination or retaliation impacted her December 2002 termination. Therefore, the Court holds that Plaintiff cannot make a prima facie case regarding the December 2002 termination. ... ..."... Finally, Plaintiff has not shown that she was specifically targeted in the Finders Keepers investigation on the basis of her race, since many individuals across her region were investigated, including a fellow employee at the Novi station. Accordingly, the Court finds that Plaintiff cannot show that she was treated differently from similarly situated non-minority employees to establish a prima facie case concerning the March 2002 termination. In the alternative, Plaintiff has not adequately shown that Defendant's stated reasons for terminating her ... the falsification of information in connection with the Program ... were merely pretext. ... ..."Plaintiff has not put forth any evidence that she complained of discrimination, or otherwise engaged in protected activity, to either Defendant or the EEOC either before or after her September 2000 termination for the expense report. Regarding Cappel, who was Plaintiff's manager in 1997 and 1998, Plaintiff stated that she did not complain about race discrimination to his superiors, but did talk to other managers at his level about other employment issues with him. Plaintiff only offers one instance where Cappel berated her while she was training as a courier. When asked why she felt he did this, Plaintiff explained 'because I was low key and I didn't yell and I didn't get up in his face' and 'because I was only there to observe.'... Additionally, Cappel was no longer her supervisor when Plaintiff was terminated for the expense report incident in September 2000. Therefore, Plaintiff has not shown any causal connection between protected activity and any adverse action."Concerning McAllen, Plaintiff's subsequent supervisor from March to June 2000, Plaintiff similarly provides no 'indicia of retaliatory conduct' that McAllen retaliated against her for making complaints. Plaintiff testified that she complained of her belief that McAllen was treating her different because of race to McAllen herself as well as to Cooper. Here, Plaintiff similarly does not show any causal connection between those complaints and any materially adverse employment action taken against her."Plaintiff has likewise failed to show a causal link between protected conduct and materially adverse employment action in connection with her complaints to Hoffman about supervisor Cooper. Plaintiff only offers her own personal beliefs that Cooper's statement that she would 'deal with [Plaintiff] later' after discovering the complaints to Hoffman support that Cooper retaliated against her. This statement, without anything more, does not provide Plaintiff's suggested retaliatory motive. Moreover, Plaintiff offers no evidence that Cooper had anything to do with the Finders Keepers investigation or was in any way responsible for her March 2002 termination."Furthermore, Plaintiff has not shown how engaging in protected activity, filing (1) the March 12, 2002 EEOC complaint and (2) the internal EEO complaints to Hoffman arising out of her March 2002 termination, was a motivating factor in her ultimate December 2002 termination. Plaintiff was reinstated to her former position in May 2002 and voluntarily took short-term disability leave in June 2002. Plaintiff's ultimate termination did not occur until December 2002, after she took a personal leave following her short term disability leave. Defendant demonstrated that under company policy, the decision to take a personal leave obligated an employee to reapply for positions in the company, with no guarantee of continued employment. Under that policy, Defendant was not required to secure Plaintiff's previous position in Novi during her personal leave."Plaintiff states that she did not take an open position because the posted jobs had fewer hours, paid less, and were further away from her residence. Plaintiff also suggests that the reason that she went on short-term disability and then personal leave was because of a 'hostile work environment.' By her own admissions, Plaintiff claims that she was not satisfied with the company's open positions during that period, and it is undisputed that she refused to apply for any position."Plaintiff was reinstated to her former position after she filed her EEOC Charge and internal EEO complaint in May 2002. Her ultimate termination occurred over nine (9) months after her EEOC Charge. In sum, there is a lack of evidence giving rise to any reasonable inference that Defendant terminated her in December 2002, in whole or in part, as retaliation for any previous protected activity."
CARTER v. DIAMONDBACK GOLF CLUB, INC. is a 2002-6 Florida federal lawsuit involving a Jehovah's Witness in Haines City, Florida named Douglas Carter. Carter was fired by Diamondback Golf Club in 2002 because of numerous alleged customer and co-worker complaints of aggressive and abrasive behavior. Such included his "greediness" for tips from customers and club owners, and his "huffy" and "nasty" attitude towards customers. (Carter had been fired for the same reasons in 2001, but had been re-hired after he agreed to correct his behavior.)
The federal district court dismissed Carter's lawsuit apparently because he failed to deny Diamondback's allegations of misconduct. However, in 2006, a federal appellate court disagreed with the district court's dismissal, reinstated the case, and sent it back for further consideration of Carter's claims. After his termination, Carter claimed that he was fired because he was a Jehovah's Witness. Despite the fact that Diamondback scheduled his work hours around the five weekly JW "meetings", and gave Carter time off to attend the three annual JW conventions, Carter claimed that his religion was "disrespected". Carter alleged that his co-workers and supervisors told dirty jokes, which ran counter to Carter's professed "belief of cleanness." When Carter had complained about such, Carter said that his boss responded, "You Jehovahs can't take a joke," and, "All you Jehovahs think your morals are better than anyone else." At the termination meeting, Carter said that his boss told him: "You really need to find another place to work conducive to your religion."
The appellate court ruled that in cases where an employer fires an employee because of legitimate non-discriminatory reasons, and even if such reasons are not disputed by the employee, IF that employee claims unlawful religious discrimination, and offers enough evidence to create a genuine factual issue as to whether his religion was "a motivating factor" in his termination, then a jury should determine whether legitimate or illegitimate reasons motivated the termination. There's a lesson in there somewhere.
BALLESTER v. MIAMI-DADE FIRE BOARD was a 1998-9 "soap opera" turned federal lawsuit involving a Jehovah's Witness named Ana Ballester. Ballester, who worked as an aide for the Miami-Dade Fire Board, sued the board, the fire department, and the county charging she was harassed because of her religion and then fired after she lodged a formal complaint. Ballester claimed that her supervisor at the Fire Board made fun of her beliefs, made sexual comments about her brother, and pressured her to attend events against her religion. Read the 5 page newspaper article to get all the juicy details, which includes participation by nearly Ballester's entire Jehovah's Witness family. Ballester is arrested for battery on a law enforcement officer. Her mother ends up in the hospital. Her grandmother and brother play supporting roles in "As the Fire Board Turns". Legal outcome unknown.
WEBER v. ROADWAY EXPRESS, INC. is a 2000 UNITED STATES APPELLATE COURT decision that contains extremely useful information for employers regarding how far they must bend over backwards to "accommodate" the religious beliefs and practices of a Jehovah's Witness Employee.
"In early July of 1996, Weber applied for a position as a truck driver with Roadway. As a Jehovah's Witness, Weber asserts that his religious beliefs require that he refrain from making long-haul overnight runs with a female partner who is not his wife. The sincerity of Weber's religious beliefs appears to be undisputed. Approximately two weeks after being hired, Weber discovered that Roadway employed female drivers on overnight runs. Weber contacted his supervisor, John Mizell, to notify him that he could not accept any run that included a female partner. Mr. Mizell informed Weber that working with women was part of his job and that he would have to work with women or would not receive any driving assignment. Subsequently, Weber filed suit against Roadway alleging a failure to accommodate his religious beliefs pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, ... ." The federal District Court summarily dismissed Weber's lawsuit against Roadway. This federal Appellate Court agreed, stating in part:
To establish a prima facie case of religious discrimination under Title VII, a plaintiff must establish that he had a bona fide religious belief that conflicted with an employment requirement, that he informed the employer of his belief, and that he was discharged for failing to comply with the conflicting employment requirement. ... Roadway does not contest that Weber has established a prima facie case. The burden therefore shifts to Roadway to show that it was unable to reasonably accommodate Weber's beliefs without undue hardship.
... An employer has the statutory obligation to make reasonable accommodations for the religious observances of its employees, but is not required to incur undue hardship. 'Undue hardship' exists, as a matter of law, when an employer is required to bear more than a de minimus cost." ...
... "First, skipping over Weber constitutes more than a de minimus expense because this unduly burdens his co-workers, with respect to compensation and 'time-off' concerns. As the district court found, skipping over Weber to avoid pairing with a female driver may adversely affect other drivers. For example, the run Weber passes up might lead his substitute to accept a shorter run than she might otherwise, which provides less compensation and is therefore less valuable. Weber's substitute might also receive less rest and time off between runs than he or she might otherwise. ... The mere possibility of an adverse impact on co-workers as a result of "skipping over" is sufficient to constitute an undue hardship.
A federal jury convicted Brown of kidnapping and aggravated sexual abuse of a child, and the USDC sentenced him to concurrent terms of life in prison. Brown appealed his conviction on several grounds, including his claim that the government had violated his religious freedoms as a Jehovah's Witness when the USDC ordered that Brown submit a blood sample for DNA testing. The USDC had ruled that Brown did not sincerely hold the belief that donating a blood sample for DNA analysis violated the beliefs of the Jehovah's Witness religion. The USCA also ruled against Brown on this issue noting that a JW Elder testified for the prosecution that JWs did not object to giving blood samples or blood testing. Brown submitted WatchTower materials that suggested that some JW might possibly object to giving blood samples, but the court ruled that "Brown failed to show that forbidding blood samples is a 'central tenet' of the Jehovah's Witness religion."
SCOTT v. FALCON TRANSPORT CO. was a 2000-3 Ohio state court case involving an African-American Jehovah's Witness named Clarence Scott. Scott was a truck driver who was fired by his employer based on the decision of the company's safety committee, which was composed of the Director of Human Relations, the Safety Director, and the Risk Manager. Their decision to terminate Scott was made as a result of his driving record and failure to report accidents. They stated that Scott's termination was not motivated by discriminatory intent or animus. Scott and his wife then retaliated by filing a state lawsuit alleging racial, religious, and disability discrimination. (Scott allegedly was disabled by a hip disintegration, but the defendants indicated they had not even heard of such before.) The Scott's attorney swamped the litigation with paperwork, and even named individual employees as defendants. This case went up and down the state court ladder several times, and the outcome is unknown. However, there is no indication that Scott ever came close to proving any of his allegations.
THOMAS v. FREEWAY FOODS, INC. was/is a 2005 federal lawsuit filed in North Carolina by four Jehovah's Witnesses named Grace Thomas, Joycelyn Willis, Jacques Willis, and Mary Shefton. All four Jehovah's Witnesses are African-American. On three separate occasions, in December of 2000, 2002, and 2003, Plaintiffs traveled from Fayetteville to Salisbury to attend a Jehovah's Witness "Assembly". On each of these trips, Plaintiffs stopped at the same Waffle House restaurant on a Saturday morning to eat breakfast on their way to the Assembly. Plaintiffs claim that on each of these visits to the exact same Waffle House they were treated in a discriminatory manner because of their race. In summary, the Plaintiffs allege that no blacks worked at this restaurant, and only one black customer was observed (and he had the nerve to sit at a table of white customers) during the three visits over the four year period. Plaintiffs further alleged that the white staff did not acknowledge their entry into the restaurant fast enough, did not seat them fast enough, etc., etc. The defendants moved for summary dismissal, but the USDC denied such and set for trial. Outcome is unknown, but in all likelihood was settled. Rumor has it that four African-American Jehovah's Witnesses now own and operate a restaurant somewhere in this vicinity.
MURRAY v. KAISER PERMANENTE was a 2002 Ohio federal appellate court decision which involved an African-American Jehovah's Witness named Pamelia Murray. Murray sued her former employer Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Ohio alleging the following causes of action: (1) wrongful discharge; (2) discrimination on the basis of religion in violation of Title VII; (3) breach of implied contract; and (4) blacklisting.
Murray began working for Kaiser HMO in September 2000 as a part-time call center Member Service Representative (MSR). Kaiser's subscribers would call Kaiser to access health care providers. MSRs fielded the subscribers' calls, and depending on the nature of the subscriber's problem, schedule appointments or refer the subscriber to a nurse for advice. A MSR's duties include taking identification information from the subscriber, documenting the subscriber's chief complaint and symptoms, and listening for "red flags" that indicate a need for immediate medical advice. During her four months employment at Kaiser HMO, Murray was late for work four times, and committed eight documented errors in phone messages that she took. The error that precipitated Murray's termination was a message she took on December 13, 2000. The message was so garbled that the doctor responding to it was not able to decipher it. Kaiser terminated Murray on December 15, 2000.
The federal District Court summarily dismissed Murray's lawsuit. The court held that Murray failed to present a prima facie case of discrimination, that Kaiser demonstrated a legitimate, non-discriminatory reason for terminating Murray, that there was no evidence that Kaiser retaliated against Murray by blacklisting her, and that Murray had dropped her claims of wrongful discharge and breach of implied contract. On appeal, the U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed, stating: "Murray's poor performance justified her termination." The appellate court opinion also included this additional bit of interesting info:
"We also conclude that the district court properly granted summary judgment to Kaiser on Murray's blacklisting/ retaliation claim. Murray alleged that Kaiser blacklisted her because the company learned of Murray's pending lawsuit against her former employer, Target. Murray cannot establish a causal connection between her protected activity and her termination because it is undisputed that Kaiser did not learn of Murray's lawsuit against Target until after Kaiser had already fired her. Thus, she failed to make out a prima facie case of retaliation."
MURRAY v. TARGET DEPARTMENT STORES was a 2003 Ohio federal appellate court decision which involved an African-American Jehovah's Witness named Pamelia Murray. In 2000, Pam Murray sued her former employer Target Department Stores alleging racial discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Interestingly (see Murray v. Kaiser), this lawsuit was summarily dismissed in March 2001 by the federal District Court after Pamelia Murray failed to attend her deposition, which had been scheduled on the day before the final deadline for completing all non-expert discovery, after the district court had allowed several extensions of time in which to complete discovery. The U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed.
WOLF v. COMMUNITY TV CORP, ET AL was a 1992-9 Massachusetts lawsuit which involved a Jehovah's Witness named Eric Wolf. Wolf, who had worked for Community TV from June 1989 through October 1992, alleged that he was discriminated against on the basis of his Jehovah's Witness religion, as well as gender and sex discrimination. Wolf initially filed complaints with both the New Hampshire Commission for Human Rights and EEOC. In both the administrative complaint and the federal civil lawsuit, Wolf alleged he was demoralized by his supervisor and co-workers, endured outrageous and distasteful remarks about his religion, his personal conduct and his wife. Wolf further alleged that after he left Community TV its' employees spread a rumor in Wolf's community that he was a "holy roller", who had been fired. Wolf specifically alleged that his compensatory damages included emotional distress and damage to his reputation. In June 1999, after incurring $50,000.00 in attorneys fees, Community TV entered into a settlement agreement with Wolf to pay him $87,500.00.
NEGRON v. CITY OF NEW HAVEN was a 2001 Connecticut lawsuit in which a Jehovah's Witness named Angel Negron sued the City of New Haven for injuries he sustained and property damages he incurred as a result of his own single-automobile accident, which occurred while Negron was driving his family to attend services at his local Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses in January 1998. Angel Negron's lawsuit blamed the City of New Haven for his own accident, alleging that such was caused by the city's failure to apply sand/salt to and/or remove ice from every street within its' jurisdiction. Angel Negron acted as his own attorney, and despite the fact that the Court had problems considering Negron's case due to his lack of "English skills", the Court still awarded Negron $5500.00, plus costs -- $585 for medical bills; $500 for his "collision" deductible; $350 for automobile rental; and $4065 for Negron's "pain and suffering". No, this was not an employment case, but there seems to be a lesson for employers of Jehovah's Witnesses who can't speak English in there somewhere.
FULGHEN v. UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE, ET AL was a 2009-2010 Michigan federal court case which involved an African-American Jehovah's Witness female named Damita J. Fulghen. Damita Fulghen was employed by USPS as a CSR at a post office in Detroit.
On the morning of October 27, 2004, Fulghen arrived at work at 8:00 AM. Around 8:20 AM, Fulghen realized that she had forgotten the key to open her till. Although a spare key was located on-site, only a Supervisor or T-6 Lead Clerk was authorized to access it. At the time, neither Fulghen's Supervisor nor her T-6 Lead Clerk had arrived. By 8:30 AM, other clerks had arrived and began serving customers. Fulghen continued to wait for either Supervisor or Lead Clerk to arrive. While waiting, Fulghen did some odd jobs around the office, and read a WATCHTOWER book in the employee locker area.
At 9:30 AM, Supervisor called to speak with Fulghen. When Fulghen picked up the phone, Supervisor began, "Now Damita, ...". Based on the tone in Supervisor's voice, Fulghen assumed that Supervisor had been told that Fulghen was reading WATCHTOWER literature instead of working at her station. Fulghen claims that Supervisor was angry. Fulghen immediately replied that she would call Supervisor back, and hung up the phone. Fulghen never returned Supervisor's call, and instead performed more odd jobs until approximately 10:20 AM. Meanwhile, Supervisor contacted Acting Manager about Fulghen's actions. Supervisor was working at another location but was about to leave for the day, and asked Acting Manager to determine why Fulghen was not working. Acting Manager claims that she tried calling Fulghen several times, but that Fulghen would not answer the phone. Fulghen claims that she was unaware of Acting Manager's calls. Acting Manager contacted Customer Service Supervisor at another Post office, to accompany her to the location where Fulghen worked. Acting Manager also arranged for two Postal Police Officers to meet them there.
At 10:20 AM, Fulghen went to the back of the office to take a break. A few minutes later, one of the Postal Police Officers entered through the office's back entrance. He asked, "Where's the clerk reading the Bible?" Fulghen stood up with her book in hand, replying, "I have a blue spiritual book, but I don't know what clerk is reading a Bible." At about this time, Acting Manager, Customer Service Supervisor, and the second Postal Police Officer arrived. Fulghen claims that she explained that she was not working because she forgot her key, and was waiting for Supervisor or Lead Clerk to arrive so she could obtain the spare key. USPS claims that Fulghen grew irate and belligerent upon seeing Acting Manager, yelling, "I know that you did not bring the police here" and "no you didn't bring the police here!" USPS also claims that when Acting Manager asked why Fulghen was not working, Fulghen yelled, "If I had my key, then maybe I could!" Acting Manager gave Fulghen a "Request for Leave" Form, asking her to "choose her leave" and exit the building. Acting Manager allegedly explained that Fulghen was being placed on leave because she did not want to work and was insubordinate. USPS claims that Fulghen responded by yelling, "You are wrong and you are going to pay for it! Not only are you going to pay now, but you will also pay for it later!" When asked what this meant, Fulghen allegedly did not respond. Acting Manager claims that she perceived this as a threat, and informed Fulghen that she was subject to emergency placement in off-duty status. Customer Service Supervisor testified that Fulghen grabbed Acting Manager's wrist, and that Fulghen said to Acting Manager, "I don't know how you sleep at night." Fulghen admits saying she did not know how Acting Manager could sleep at night, but denies grabbing Acting Manager's wrist. The two Postal Police Officers then escorted Fulghen from the premises and deactivated her badge access.
Fulghen filed a grievance through her union on November 16, 2004, alleging that her emergency placement in off-duty status was unwarranted and punitive. Fulghen remained in off-duty status until November 23, 2004. The parties settled the grievance on December 16, 2004, and Fulghen was given 120 hours' pay for lost wages. On December 22, 2004, Fulghen was notified that she would be suspended for 14 days, beginning January 4, 2005. Fulghen filed a second grievance, challenging the suspension as untimely. This grievance was settled on January 18, 2005, rescinding the notice of suspension. The grievance settlement agreement was later amended to provide Fulghen with back pay for lost wages.
On January 29, 2005, Fulghen filed an administrative discrimination complaint, alleging that she was placed in off-duty status because of her religion. On February 10, 2005, Fulghen filed a second administrative discrimination complaint, alleging that she was given the notice of suspension in retaliation for engaging in protected Equal Employment Opportunity activity. These complaints were investigated at a hearing on February 1, 2007, before Administrative Judge Treeter of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
On April 30, 2007, Judge Treeter issued a decision, finding that Fulghen had been placed in off-duty status for both lawful and unlawful reasons. Treeter determined that USPS's action was motivated both by Fulghen's practice of reading the religious book and Fulghen's refusal to work while on the clock." Treeter also found that Fulghen engaged in threatening behavior that provided USPS with another reason to place Fulghen in off-duty status. Treeter ruled that the threatening behavior was "after-acquired evidence" supporting USPS's decision, and while it did not release USPS from liability, it limited Fulghen's entitlement to relief. Treeter ordered USPS to post a notice to its employees regarding its non-discrimination policy and provide training to Acting Manager regarding her obligations under Title VII. Treeter ruled, however, that Fulghen was ineligible for back pay or compensatory damages. As for the retaliation claim, Treeter concluded that Fulghen had set forth no evidence showing that the USPS's reason for the suspension was a pretext. Fulghen therefore did not demonstrate that USPS retaliated against her by issuing the suspension. USPS issued a "Notice of Final Action" dated May 30, 2007, disagreeing with Treeter's conclusions, but agreeing to post the notice, and provide the required training.
Damita J. Fulghen filed a federal lawsuit in October 2009, alleging employment discrimination on the basis of religion. In June 2010, Fulghen moved to amend her Complaint to state that USPS's discrimination resulted in emotional distress and a hostile work environment. In November 2010, the USDC granted USPS's motion for summary judgment on all counts, ruling that (1) Fulghen had failed to establish a prima facie case of disparate treatment, as she had produced no evidence showing that a similarly situated employee was treated more favorably, and (2) Fulghen had failed to allege any conduct that amounted to harassment that unreasonably interfered with her work performance by creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment. The only conduct Fulghen referred to even remotely concerning "religion" was when Postal Police Officer asked which clerk was reading the Bible, which was plainly insufficient to constitute harassment.
KING v. UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE, ET AL was a 2002 New York federal lawsuit which involved a Jehovah's Witness named Raymond King. King, a postal worker, alleged four causes of action centering on alleged mistreatment at his workplace on the basis of his Watchtower religion: (1) discriminated against him on the basis of his religion, in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, in that King's supervisor intentionally switched his tour of duty in 1998 to force him to work on Sundays, on which his religion forbids work; (2) that in 1997, King's supervisor attempted to force him to buy a ticket to a fund-raising event for Al Sharpton, and when King refused to do so (because his religion prohibits financial support for other organizations), the supervisor retaliated by engaging in an abusive campaign against King, where King suffered numerous instances of harassment, verbal abuse and mental anguish; (3) that defendants created a hostile work environment; and (4) that these various discriminatory acts constituted intentional infliction of severe emotional distress in violation of the common law of New York. The last cause of action was summarily dismissed, as were some of the defendants on the other three. However, the balance of the lawsuit went forward, but outcome is unknown.
JAMES C. PARTRIDGE v. UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE, ET AL was a late 1990s religious discrimination complaint filed with the EEOC by a Jehovah's Witness Employee of USPS. Outcome unknown.
RONALD D. MEDLEY v. UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE, ET AL was a 1997-2001 Arkansas federal court case which involved a Jehovah's Witness named Ronald Dean Medley. Ronald Medley was a USPS mail handler at the Fayetteville, Arkansas post office facility. After being denied overtime, and denied a promotion, Ronald Medley filed a lawsuit alleging religious discrimination and age discrimination. USPS and EEOC dismissed the complaints they were considering due to the filing of this federal civil court case in December 1999. Outcome unknown.
In 1981, one or more unnamed Jehovah's Witnesses who were employed by the UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE joined with other like-minded USPS employees in filing a series of union grievances, EEOC complaints, and federal lawsuits to stop USPS from having them to process draft registration materials. On July 3, 1980, President Carter issued Proclamation 4771, 45 Fed.Reg. 45247, which required all males born in 1960-61 to register with the Selective Service System. USPS and the Selective Service System agreed that USPS personnel would distribute the draft registration forms and information brochures at post offices throughout the nation, and then review the forms for accuracy once they were completed by each respective registrant. Many USPS employees suffered various disciplinary actions for refusing to perform such duties before the court ruling that conscientious objectors would no longer be forced to perform such.
UNITED STATES v. GRANT was a 1973-4 New York federal appellate court decision, which is included here because it is the only known federal prosecution of a person for the theft of a "Watchtower" magazine. An African-American NYC post office employee, named Ruth Grant (unknown if she was a JW), was convicted in USDC for stealing multiple mail items, including a "Watchtower" magazine.
WHEELER v. VOICESTREAM WIRELESS SERVICES is a 2005 Pennsylvania federal lawsuit involving an African-American Jehovah's Witness named Sharon Wheeler. Wheeler began working for Voicestream at its Wyoming Valley Mall location in May 2001. Despite Voicestream's policy that retail employees be available to work during all hours their retail stores are open, Voicestream agreed to "accommodate" Wheeler's request to have Sundays and Tuesday evenings off so that she could attend Watchtower meetings. Whether it was Wheeler's "special treatment", or whether Wheeler did other things to make her religious beliefs known, her co-workers began to question Wheeler about her beliefs. Wheeler later claimed that her co-worker's questions and follow-up comments offended her - something I find questionable given that most JWs welcome any and every opportunity to talk about their religion. In all probability, Wheeler's offense was likely brought on by her failure to convert any of her co-workers. In January 2002, Wheeler applied for an assistant manager position, but she was not granted an interview. In April 2002, Wheeler took a leave of absence of unknown length. During the leave, she received a letter requesting that she return her keys to the store. Wheeler assumed this meant she had been fired, but Voicestream claimed Wheeler was not fired until she failed to return from leave.
At some point thereafter, Wheeler obtained an attorney and filed a complaint with the Pennsylvania Human Rights Commission. Probably due to foreseeing that PHRC would not rule in her favor, Wheeler filed a complaint with EEOC, and a federal lawsuit was pursued in October 2003. Under Title VII, Wheeler alleged racial and religious discrimination, including retaliation, hostile work environment, and failure to accommodate. In May 2005, the USDC summarily dismissed Wheeler's claims based on racial discrimination, and some of her religious discrimination claims. The court allowed several other allegations regarding religious discrimination to go forward, but outcome is unknown.
THOMPSON v. JASAS CORPORATION was a 2002 federal lawsuit filed in Washington D.C. by a African-American Jehovah's Witness named Wenoka Thompson. Thompson alleged that she had been discriminated against and harassed by her employer on the basis of her sex, race, and religion. She also asserted causes of action for intentional infliction of emotional distress, defamation, and retaliation. Defendants included Jasas Corporation and Tribune Broadcasting Company. Thompson was employed by Jasas beginning in May 1993. In June 1994, she was promoted to the Business Department as an Accounts Payable Technician. Thereafter, Thompson alleged numerous incidents of harassment by her supervisor, and that Jasas did not address her complaints. Thompson alleged that her supervisor referred to her as "Tar Baby" and "Speck"; that her supervisor responded to her request to help plan a company picnic by stating that everyone would be eating barbecue, chitterlings, and watermelon; and that her supervisor once carried a "noose" through the office and hung it on his office door, commenting that it was plaintiff's size. Thompson also alleges that a white female co-worker accused her of stealing, commenting that "black people do all the stealing." On another occasion, when Thompson's boyfriend visited the office, that co-worker allegedly asked whether the boyfriend was plaintiff's pimp. Thompson was moved from the Business Department to the Engineering Department in December 1995. She alleged that she was subjected to discrimination and harassment in the new department also. Thompson claimed that she was physically and verbally assaulted and battered by a co-employee in January 1997. Thompson filed a charge of discrimination with the EEOC in August 1996. After she received her right to sue letter, she filed this lawsuit pro se in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia in December 1997 asserting only a Title VII claim for discrimination and harassment. Jasas removed the action to the USDC in January 1998. Thereafter, Thompson alleged that she was transferred involuntarily from the night shift to the day shift in March 1998, and was discharged on March 12, 1998. She claims that these two events were in retaliation for filing the EEOC charge and this lawsuit. Thompson filed a subsequent EEOC charge of retaliation on May 5, 1998. She quickly requested a right to sue letter and, on June 22, 1998, the EEOC issued one. Thompson filed an amended complaint adding causes of action for defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress. In a second amended complaint, Thompson added a cause of action for retaliation. The USDC summarily dismissed outright Thompson's claims for intentional infliction of emotional distress and defamation, but dismissed her retaliation claim only because it was premature. Thompson's Title VII claims were permitted to go to trial. Outcome unknown. Probably settled.
BRANTLEY v. WALMART, ET AL was a 2003 federal lawsuit filed in Kansas by an African-American Jehovah's Witness named Kesha Brantley. Brantley filed a Title VII lawsuit against Wal-mart and an assortment of managers alleging racial, religious, and gender discrimination in July 2000. Dismissed due to untimely filing of her EEOC complaint.
In 1988, an unnamed Jehovah's Witness supervisor joined in an ACLU and EEOC sponsored federal lawsuit with seven other supervisors against their former Atlanta employer, Robert Blazer d/b/a DeKalb Farmers Market. All eight former employees alleged that they were unfairly fired or forced to resign because they refused to participate in "The Forum" meetings sponsored by Blazer, which they characterized as a "quasi-religious cult". Blazer settled with EEOC after agreeing to all demands.
EMPLOYEE v. SOUTHWEST AIRLINES. In the mid 1990s, in Texas, SouthWest Airlines was embroiled in a well publicized employment discrimination federal court case in which a "christian professing" flight attendant alleged various discriminatory actions by SouthWest caused by her wearing "christian" jewelry, occasionally discussing her "christian faith" with co-workers and passengers, and reading the Bible during breaks. Interestingly, one of that flight attendant's co-workers who filed complaints against her was a Jehovah's Witness, and that Jehovah's Witness was one of two co-workers who testified at trial against that flight attendant. Such is especially interesting given the fact that, for decades, the WatchTower Society encouraged its JW Members to take the Bible and especially WatchTower publications to work, and for those JW Employees to read such in such a public fashion as to initiate recruitment activities with the co-workers and others who would observe the JW Employee and the WatchTower literature.
RODE v. U.S. DEPT OF THE INTERIOR was a federal employee EEOC decision which involved a Methodist employee named Ralph Rode. This case is included here because part of Rode's case included a complaint against Rode made by a Jehovah's Witness Co-worker to whom Rode had given a photocopy of a single page of Bible quotations, which likely refuted WatchTower teachings. The JW Co-worker labeled the photocopy of Bible quotations as "intimidating and harassing". In response to the formal complaint filed by the Jehovah's Witness Co-worker, Rode's supervisor issued a letter of counseling advising Rode that the agency did not allow the preaching of a religious viewpoint on government facilities during working hours. I'm curious as to how Rode even knew that the co-worker was a JW, and how Rode knew what Bible quotations to select.
LAUREEN HAYNES v. WISCONSIN BELL TELEPHONE was a 1984-86 Wisconsin federal employment discrimination lawsuit filed by a 33 year-old female African-American Jehovah's Witness named Laureen Haynes. Haynes alleged gender discrimination, racial discrimination, and religious discrimination. Haynes submitted a lengthy accounting of religious and sexual harassment by white male coworkers and supervisors, as well as alleged management tolerated disparate treatment, all starting at the time of Haynes employment in 1977, and continuing up to the time of Haynes requested medical leave in 1983, during which psychiatric treatment was required. Laureen Haynes also filed one or more worker's compensation claims.
Haynes first filed a complaint with the EEOC in August 1983, but the EEOC dismissed all charges and issued a Right-To-Sue Letter. This lawsuit was filed in March 1984. The USDC dismissed the entire lawsuit in May 1986, while noting that Haynes had failed to submit any proof of her numerous allegations. Instead, the USDC noted that during her first six years with Wisconsin Bell, Haynes had been promoted to a supervisory position of responsibility, and her compensation had increased over 300 percent. Haynes appealed the USDC decision. Outcome unknown.
CURRIE v. KOWALEWSKI was a 1990-4 New York federal lawsuit involving a Jehovah's Witness named Doris A. Currie. Doris Currie was an assembly line supervisor for Unitec, a company that manufactured electronic score keeping equipment for sporting events. Hired in July 1989, Currie quit in August 1990 due to alleged sexual harassment by the company's owner. She filed a complaint with the EEOC in September 1990, and received a "right to sue" letter.
Following a two day non-jury trial in 1993, Currie's complaint was dismissed. On appeal, the USCA disagreed with the dismissal, vacated the judgment of dismissal, and remanded for further proceedings. In 1994, the USDC ruled in Currie's favor, although the court stated that it did not believe all of Currie's allegations. Currie was awarded $16,430.00 in back wages and interest, and substantial attorney's fees. The USDC stated, in part:
Even discounting plaintiff's testimony that defendant touched her breasts and buttocks, and reached for her crotch, the totality of circumstances demonstrate that defendant created a hostile work environment. The continuation of frontal full body hugs after being told to stop over a period of eleven months is completely unacceptable in an employee/employer relationship. This, coupled with the other incidents of sexual innuendos, sexual advances, sexual talk, and admitted unwelcome touching, illustrates the inappropriate behavior of the defendant. As a result, this caused plaintiff's subordinates to resent her supervisory role and created very difficult working conditions for her.
Moreover, despite episodes of poor performance (including dishonesty and false reporting) on the job, the plaintiff received raises and favors because defendant wished to continue to touch and bother her. Furthermore, defendant did not challenge plaintiff's unemployment application in order to avoid a public hearing; a hearing which would no doubt reveal the real reason she quit. This is further proof that acts of sexual harassment by the defendant actually occurred. The acts and advances were unwelcome and created an environment that was hostile to the plaintiff because of her sex. As a result, the plaintiff has met her burden of proving that she perceived the environment created by defendant to be abusive and she was subjected to behavior that would adversely affect a reasonable person.
UNIDENTIFIED JEHOVAH'S WITNESS EMPLOYEE, LEROY HILTON, HARVEY ALPERT, ET AL v. NEW YORK TIMES ET AL was a November 2004 lawsuit filed in New Jersey state court which alleged that 9 employees at the TIMES printing plant in Edison, New Jersey, including one unidentified Jehovah's Witness employee, had been the subjects of racial and/or religious discrimination. Case apparently was settled.
STATE v. TOWNES. Richard Townes Jr. was convicted of capital murder in 1986 and executed in 1996. Because Townes was African-American, there was much discussion as to the accuracy of his conviction and the appropriateness of the death penalty, despite his prior history of committing violent crimes. The investigation of the capital murder centered around his employment as a supervisor for a Virginia Beach homebuilder. One day, after the unsolved murder had been committed, Townes was spotted by a co-worker carrying on the job a .45 pistol in his back pants pocket. The pistol was eventually purchased by that co-worker, fired by other co-workers/supervisors, etc., and eventually showed to a local cop, who evidently already suspected Townes in the murder. In a possible attempt to intimidate a supervisor, Townes left in an office a "Jehovah's Witness book, a law book, and an essay". The supervisor testified that his recollection of the essay was "pertaining to what Jehovah would do to him [Townes] for murdering somebody." No further info is available regarding Townes and Jehovah's Witnesses.
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