EMPLOYMENT ISSUES UNIQUE TO JEHOVAH'S WITNESS EMPLOYEES

 
JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES
IN POSITIONS OF AUTHORITY:
 
BUSINESS OWNERS, EMPLOYEE MANAGERS, JOB SUPERVISORS, ETC.
 
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Because of the close-knit nature of the very small Jehovah's Witness community, Employers should expect that if they hire or promote a Jehovah's Witness into a supervisory or management position that that JW Employee will in turn actively seek out fellow Jehovah's Witnesses when filling positions working under them. Employers should be vigilant that such JW Supervisors or JW Managers do not discriminate against perspective employees or even current employees who are not Jehovah's Witnesses. JW Managers/Supervisors (including regular JW employees) have their ways of subtly letting underlings know that they are "Jehovah's Witnesses", and then gauging that employee's immediate and later reaction to such news so as to determine that employee's "feelings" about "Jehovah's Witnesses", so they can determine how they themselves will treat that employee in the future.

Back in the 1990s, a JW Manager complained to this editor about a "mistake" that he admittedly had made in this regard. JW Manager was a Ministerial Servant at his local Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses. There, a frequently unemployed African-American JW Elder had approached JW Manager to help him get hired on at JW Manager's company. Not only did JW Manager get JW Elder hired, he made the even bigger mistake of getting JW Elder a position under him. JW Manager related that such was a disaster from the start. JW Manager immediately realized that their "reversed" positions in the Congregation caused JW Manager to have a different style of management with JW Elder (and resultant treatment) versus that which he had with his nonJW underlings. Then, there was the question of JW Elder's attitude as an underling of JW Manager. JW Manager wasn't certain whether African-American JW Elder was just naturally "lazy", occasionally "insubordinate", and occasionally "combative", or whether their reversed positions at the Kingdom Hall was causing JW Elder to also act that way at work. JW Manager didn't know what to do. Both his underlings and his own managers knew that JW Elder was a fellow Jehovah's Witness of JW Manager, so JW Manager was in a losing position at work regardless of whether he fired JW Elder or didn't fire him. Ambitious JWManager was also concerned how this mess with JW Elder was going to affect his ambition to also become a JW Elder in the near future.

My reaction? I was highly amused. What did either of these two JW Idiots think was going to happen? The "in-public" most humble, meek, and mild-mannered JW Elders whom I ever knew intimately were also "in private" the most ARROGANT ASSHOLES one could imagine. Never forget that the WatchTower Society gets these societal LOSERS to do its bidding by teaching them that they are Earth's future "PRINCES".  I once had a decades-long "Anointed" JW Elder complain to me privately that his being required by the Governing Body (his "equals") to go door-to-door in field service every month (while they themselves did NOT do so), and thus his being forced to regularly endure the negative rejections of numerous unreceptive householders destined for destruction, was BENEATH HIS DIGNITY as a FUTURE CO-RULER of planet Earth.

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CONTROVERSIAL SCHOOL PRINCIPAL

(1.) FEMALE, (2.) AFRICAN-AMERICAN, (3.) JEHOVAH'S WITNESS

"SHE AIN'T GOING NOWHERE"

In 2009, an African-American, female Jehovah's Witness named Greta Hawkins was hired as the PRINCIPAL at Brooklyn's PS90 Edna Cohen School -- apparently for as long as she desires. We don't know how things went that first year, but in June 2010, after the first staff meeting held prior to the start of the 2010-11 school year, fourteen "white" and "Jewish" staffers filed complaints with the Department of Education's Office of Equal Opportunity. Those 14 staffers alleged that Greta Hawkins made a series of "racist" remarks about the school and the school's previous Jewish Principal. Hawkins purportedly told her staffers, "I'm a BLACK JEHOVAH'S WITNESS -- NOT A WHITE JEW!!! More of US are coming!!!" After an investigation, the DOE issued a "reprimand" to Hawkins, and required her to attend extra training at the OEO, for "deliberately differentiating herself, a black Jehovah’s Witness, and the previous principal, white and Jewish ... ."

It was not until the end of the 2011-12 school year, in June 2012, that the media reported that at various times during her first three years at PS90 that Greta Hawkins allegedly had attempted to do away with the recitation of the PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE and all singing of the song, AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL.

Those allegations surfaced during the June 2012 uproar which occurred after Greta Hawkins eliminated a display of patriotism which had traditionally been part of kindergarten graduation ceremonies. One class had traditionally sang the song, GOD BLESS THE U.S.A. (Lee Greenwood classic), while all waving American Flags. Greta Hawkins allegedly stated that the words to GOD BLESS THE U.S.A. are OFFENSIVE to people from other countries, so Hawkins decided to replace the traditional patriotic ceremony with the singing of the song, THE WORLD IS A RAINBOW.

Greta Hawkins reportedly finally succeeded in eliminating any future singing of AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL by the start of the 2013-14 school year, in September 2013. Eliminating the recitation of the PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE is yet to be achieved.

In March 2014, staffers at PS90 accused Principal Hawkins of altering annual confidential performance surveys completed by the parents of PS90 students. Hawkins was alleged to have encouraged parents to return the completed forms to the school rather than mailing them themselves in exchange for two "NO HOMEWORK" passes for their children. Later, staffers allege that Hawkins had an assistant break open the sealed envelopes and tamper with the survey's answers. In April 2014, after an investigation by the DOE, new survey forms were distributed to PS90 parents, who were instructed to mail the forms themselves, but nothing was done to Hawkins.

In June 2014, the pre-K teachers at PS90 had another planned patriotic display canceled by Principal Hawkins. This time, the pre-K teachers had been rehearsing their classes to sing the song, STAND UP FOR THE RED, WHITE, AND BLUE, while marching into their graduation ceremony and waving American Flags. Hawkins KILLED the patriotic ceremony on the lame excuse that she had not pre-approved it -- which is not a reason at all. When the teachers then requested that their students still be permitted to carry their American Flags, Greta Hawkins reportedly also refused to allow that because the American Flags were "unapproved materials".

What is even more unbelievable is the fact that the City of New York's DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION has stood behind Greta Hawkins on all of her KILL SHOTS at "patriotism". It was only on the one occasion when Hawkins made the mistake of openly making her racist remarks to a crowd of "witnesses" that the DOE gave Hawkins a slap on the wrist. Hawkins' unnamed "Assistant Principal" also stands behind Hawkins.

When Greta Hawkins was hired as the Principal at PS90, the school reportedly had a state-of-the-art computer lab, and a library, and a music program. Hawkins shut down all three. Google "Greta Hawkins" to read other accusations -- including that Hawkins bloodied one male student's lip while snatching away his cellphone, and that Hawkins has "lied" to have opposing staffers removed from PS90.

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A retired business professional (RBP) submits that some of the "most difficult" and the "most arrogant" business owners with whom he had to deal over the years turned out to be JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES who owned very small businesses -- thus those Jehovah's Witness business owners had the least reasons of any business owners to be either "difficult" or "arrogant". During one segment of RBP's career, RBP's duties required him to meet personally with business owners dispersed over a multi-state area, and extract confidential information regarding both that business owner and their business operations. During that portion of RPB's career, RBP personally met with and "interrogated" a wide variety of business owners and business professionals. On one end of the spectrum were small, one-man businesses, such as plumbers, painters, carpenters, etc., with whom RBP often met in their kitchens or living rooms. On the other end of the spectrum, RBP once conducted business with a nationally-syndicated conservative radio talk-show personality in his studio, and once met with the multi-millionaire founder of one of the world's largest chemical manufacturing firms in one of his airplane hangers. RBP also "name-drops" that he once conducted business with the celebrity who has hosted three popular MTV series at the business which gave that celebrity his start to fame, which that celebrity now owns. RBP even once conducted business with a "trial court judge" "in-chambers" during a trial recess.

Due to RBP's role of extracting and memorializing confidential and sometimes highly sensitive information, the vast majority of business persons with whom RBP conducted business wisely treated RBP with great deference and respect. Interestingly, the business owner whom RBP remembers for having treated RBP with the most respect and deference was an "organized crime" figure. On the other hand, every single instance where RPB eventually discovered the business owner to be a JEHOVAH'S WITNESS inevitably turned out to be a negative experience. RPB submits some of those instances which involved proven JW Elders and even one JW Elderette.

RBP relates that he can count on one hand the number of business owners who defiantly refused to even meet with him during the time period in question. In the single worst instance of "arrogance" and "disrespect", RBP eventually identified that small business owner to be both a JW Elder and a WatchTower Regional Building Committee member. A second JW Elder -- a small residential contractor whose office-in-home was a three-hour drive from RBP's own office -- almost made that very short list by arrogantly attempting to dictate an unacceptable time for the appointment. JW Elder repeatedly refused to meet with RBP "between 8:00 A.M. and 4:00 P.M." on any offered date. Rather, JW Elder insisted that RBP arrive at his home "sometime between 7:00 P.M. and 9:00 P.M." RBP finally had to politely inform JW Elder that he would arrive at JW Elder's home at 4:00 P.M., and if he had to, that he would wait in his car until 5:00 P.M before leaving. On the day of the appointment, on his arrival at 4:00 P.M., JW Elderette waved RBP into her home. Just before JW Elder arrived at 4:10 P.M., JW Elderette complained that she could not understand why her husband had been demanding the later appointment time given that her husband knew that "tonight" was their wedding anniversary celebration, and that they would not have been home until around midnight. RBP is uncertain whether JW Elder was going to "show", and use the business appointment as an excuse not to celebrate the couple's anniversary, or whether JW Elder was going to "no show" the appointment, and use the anniversary party as his excuse.

An especially arrogant HVAC contractor, whom had been especially difficult to schedule, acted very unprofessionally and disrespectfully toward RBP on RPB's arrival at contractor's office (not in home). When RBP was led back to business owner's private office, the first thing that RBP noticed was what was lying on the contractor's desk -- a spread-open, heavily highlighted and notated WATCHTOWER magazine Study Article, pens, and highlighters, all lying on top of an open large-print NWT bible. Watchtower Study Conductor?

RPB relates that when he first started this particular job, he was surprised at how many times that small contractors would attempt to "beg off" from being personally in attendance at such meetings -- asking instead that RPB meet with their wives, alone, in their homes. During one of the earlier instances of such, being professionally uncomfortable with such, RPB even tactfully related to one contractor that meeting with his wife, alone in their home, might not be a good idea. That contractor responded something to the effect of -- "Give me a break. I'm not worried about anything happening between you and my wife." Over the years, RPB gradually met alone with so many small contractors' wives that he eventually grew to give such little thought. Notably, during all those years of scheduling appointments, only ONE HUSBAND ever had the nerve to come right out and directly state to RPB that the appointment definitely would have to be scheduled at a time when Husband could be home, because Husband did not trust RPB and his wife to be alone together at his home. Assuming that Husband was directing his distrust toward RPB, RPB's immediate thought was -- "This nut has to be a JW Elder."

RBP looked forward to that particular appointment for no other reason than to hopefully see if that business owner and his wife actually were "Jehovah's Witnesses", as had been his immediate suspicion. On arriving at that business owner's home, an EXTREMELY attractive and well-manicured early-30s female answered RBP's knock. It took RBP all that he could do to keep from laughing out loud as he thought to himself, "Well, THAT is no JW Elderette, and I certainly can't blame this guy for worrying about some stranger being alone with his wife." Despite that business owner having insisted on an appointment time when he could be in attendance, Wife explained that Husband had gotten tied up and would not be in attendance. Wife directed RBP to the home's dining room table. From the dining room, RPB could see that this older home's carport had been "boxed-in", and a displayed WatchTower Society "Year Text Banner", along with rows of metal folding chairs, revealed the carport "addition" to be the site of a weekly "Congregation Book Study" group. When RPB had entered the home and was directed to the dining room table, RPB had curiously noticed that none of the home's interior lighting was turned on -- thus the entire home was extremely dark. Gorgeous "JW Elderette" only turned on a single low-watt light bulb in the fixture above the dining room table. Despite RPB's poor eyesight and the low lighting, it soon became "apparent" that the "buxom" JW Elderette was NOT wearing a bra. In fact, over the course of the appointment, JW Elderette appeared to repeatedly be intentionally making exaggerated jerking movements to one side and then the other, as she reached for documents on her side of the table, which caused her breasts to swing freely side-to-side like pendulums. RPB relates that JW Elderette and he eventually reached a visual, unspoken "understanding" as to what was occurring. RPB does not know for a certainty what was JW Elderette's ultimate intent, but RPB did nothing more than enjoy the burlesque show, which JW Elderette was obviously "getting off" through performing. RPB has little doubt that this was NOT the first time that JW Elderette had pulled such a stunt, and RPB suspects that JW Elderette was hoping for more than RPB's restrained satisfaction with simply watching and enjoying her performance.

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EMPLOYMENT REFERENCES.  Employers should be aware that prospective employees who are Jehovah's Witnesses will likely submitted the names of fellow JWs as personal references, and other types of references where applicable. The following scenario demonstrates the potential "accuracy" of such. The quotations were taken from UNITED STATES v. PARR, which is a 1958 United States Court of Appeals opinion.

Max Larson (deceased 2011) was one of the best known Jehovah's Witnesses in the world. Larson started working at WatchTower Society headquarters in the 1940s in the department responsible for printing and distributing the cult's literature. He rose to head that department, and eventually, in the 1990s and 2000s, even rose to the positions of Vice President and President of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York.

In a Recommendation Letter, dated September 12, 1953, which was issued for a worker departing from the WatchTower Society's printing department, Max Larson praised the Jehovah's Witness' work at WatchTower headquarters. In the concluding paragraph, Max Larson summarized:

"Our organization found Mr. Parr to be very capable and always reliable. In all of his dealings with our Society he was fully honest and trustworthy. He had an excellent attendance record and was of high moral standing. In view of these qualifications, he has our highest recommendation."

Approximately 3-4 years after issuing that Recommendation Letter, Max Larson was interviewed by an unidentified official from the United States Department of Justice (typically an FBI Agent). During that interview, Larson disclosed that at the time that he had issued the Recommendation Letter, in which he had given David Allen Parr, "our highest recommendation", Larson had not only kicked Parr out of WatchTower headquarters, but Larson had done so just two weeks shy of Parr completing his contracted two-year "enlistment" term. Doing so was a purposeful act on the part of WatchTower administration to make sure that Parr left "Bethel" in disgrace, and to make sure that Parr would thereafter be unable to relate to his fellow JWs that he had spent a full term as a volunteer worker at the WatchTower Society's headquarters.

Evidently, Max Larson initially told the [assumed] FBI Agent that "he had no derogatory information concerning [Parr's] character". However, Larson apparently eventually decided to come clean, because the Agent included these remarks about Parr by Max Larson in his report, as recorded in the USCA opinion:

'although he was a good factory member he had failed to meet the requirements of a Bethel member'; that while the registrant possessed the necessary faculties which would enable him to become a minister, he was immature in spiritual knowledge and did not apply himself to the Bible study and failed to perform his ministerial work; that he considered the registrant as being 'spiritually sick and a playboy.' He pointed out that on many occasions he had verbally strongly reprimanded the registrant with the hope that the registrant would correct himself. He further stated that registrant failed to right himself and that under his direct orders, the registrant was requested to leave the staff of the Bethel family of Brooklyn. He stated the registrant withdrew from the Bethel Home approximately two weeks prior to the date that his training was to have been completed. He also pointed out that since the registrant had failed to devote the necessary amount of time in his ministerial work, he was removed from the Pioneer list and to date, his name has not been reentered on that same list.'

Again, the person whom Max Larson described with all the highlighted "negatives" to the federal Agent was the same person to whom Larson had issued a Letter of Recommendation containing the WatchTower Society's "highest recommendation" to potential future employers of Parr.

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OBOTETUKUDO v. CLARION UNIVERSITY is a still ongoing 2011-14 Pennsylvania federal employment discrimination lawsuit filed by a terminated tenured Associate Professor who was employed by Clarion University from 1994 until 2011. We note this court case because as part of the non-JW plaintiff's allegations of "religious discrimination", he alleged that "he was repeatedly invited to attend religious services" by Professor Rachelle C. Prioleau, who is an African-American Jehovah's Witness, who allegedly "resorted to 'intimidations and harassment' when he declined".

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MARVIN RIST AND LEE RIST v. THE DESIGN CENTER INC and PETER AKEL AND MARLENE AKEL was a 2007-13 New Mexico employment discrimination state court case. The Design Center, of Las Cruces, New Mexico, is a home furnishings business owned and operated by a Jehovah's Witness Couple named Peter S. Akel and Marlene D. Akel. The Akels purportedly also employed a number of fellow Jehovah's Witnesses. Former employees Marvin Rist (father) and Lee Rist (son) were NOT Jehovah's Witnesses, but were hired in latter 2006 to manage and work in the Employer's granite countertops manufacturing shop.

The Rists alleged that after being hired that they both soon became the targets of WatchTower proselytizing efforts by Pete Akel and Marchele Akel, and the other Jehovah's Witness employees at The Design Center. After the Rists were also "invited" to the WatchTower Society's annual "Memorial" celebration in April 2007, Marvin Rist complained to the Akels and asked that their proselytizing efforts cease. The Rists allege that thereafter they both were ostracized by the owners and coworkers. In June 2007, the Rists and a third employee were fired. The Akels alternately blamed the firings on a necessary reduction in employees due to reduced orders and the Rists being "ineffective" employees.

Although both Rists filed DISCRIMINATION complaints with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, neither Rist responded to the EEOC's follow-up requests for additional information. Eventually, the EEOC issued right-to-sue letters. The EEOC also cross-filed the Rists complaints with the New Mexico Human Rights Division. The Rists did not receive a letter of non-determination from the NMHRD. After receiving their right-to-sue letters from the EEOC, instead of filing a federal lawsuit, the Rists filed this state court action, alleging "wrongful termination" and unlawfully discriminatory practice under the NMHRA. After the Rists presented their case, the Akels moved for directed verdicts. The NM trial court granted the motions for: (1) lack of subject matter jurisdiction resulting from Plaintiffs' failure to exhaust administrative remedies, (2) Plaintiffs' failure to allege a cause of action for the common law tort of retaliatory discharge, (3) Plaintiffs' request for punitive damages, and (4) Plaintiffs' claims against the two owners of the business individually. On appeal, the NM appellate court affirmed all lower court rulings.

The RISTS lost their cases on the legal technicalities -- not on the FACTS alleged in their cases. The appellate court opinion seems to indicate that the Rists essentially failed to prosecute their federal claims against these JW Employers, and then could not have done a worse job prosecuting their state claims. However, there also seems to be some intervening factors which possibly may have been the partial cause of such.  Interestingly, the appellate court opinion seems to indicate that the Akels filed personal bankruptcy at some point in this lengthy lawsuit. Frankly, in researching the background of these parties, we had some difficulty determining the correct legal name of the involved corporate entity, as well as determining the correct legal names, ages, and previous addresses of the two individual owners of that corporate entity. Documented corrections and additional details are welcomed for sake of accuracy.

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AMANDA QUALLS v. FRANCHISE STRATEGIES INCORPORATED is an ongoing May 2012 Kansas federal discrimination court case. Qualls was employed until September 2010 as a Bookkeeper for F.S.I., which constructs and remodels stores for Wal-Mart, Safeway, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, LJS, DQ, etc. Qualls alleges that she was hired by Wichita, Kansas based FSI after meeting corporate President Stanley Stover at the Kingman Kansas Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses, where Stanley Stover is one of the Congregation Elders. Qualls alleges that Stover made it clear that her joining the Jehovah's Witnesses was a requirement for continued employment with Franchise Strategies. However, Quall stopped attending the Kingman Kingdom Hall in March 2010. Qualls alleges that Stover thereafter began treating her abusively and calling her names, and counseled her to return to attending the Kingman Kingdom Hall. Qualls alleges that in August 2010 that Stover stated that his wife was upset with him due to "playing inappropriately" with their foster daughters. Qualls' fiance reported Stanley Stover to Child Protective Services on September 1, 2010. Qualls was fired two days later.

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TOMEKA WILLIS v. MILDRED ALLEN and INTEGRITY REALTY GROUP is an ongoing 2011 Ohio federal court case. Tomeka Willis was employed by the defendant apartment complex managers from March 2009 until July 2009, when she was terminated. In May 2011, Willis filed this federal lawsuit alleging religious discrimination. In August 2011, the USDC denied the defendants' motion for summary judgment. Outcome pending.

Mildred Allen was the rental agent at Shaker North and Shaker West Apartments. Allen worked there for 13 years under both current and prior managers. Mildred Allen allegedly had been responsible for the hiring of employees at the two complexes for several years, and coincidentally, most employees were Jehovah's Witnesses, just as was Mildred Allen.

In July 2007, Willis and her husband moved into Shaker North Apartments. In November 2008, Willis's husband, not a JW, was hired as a maintenance man. Around the time of husband's hiring, the Willises' had expressed an interest in learning more about Allen's religion, and a weekly home bible study was conducted by Mildred Allen starting on January 1, 2009.

In February 2009, Intergrity Realty took over management of the apartment complexes, and hired Tomeka Willis as Mildred Allen's assistant on Allen's recommendation. In April and May 2011, the Willises attended Allen's Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses three times. However, in mid-May 2009, Tomeka Willis informed Mildred Allen that she did not agree with WatchTower teachings, and discontinued attending the weekly home bible study, which Allen continued to conduct with Willis's husband.

Thereafter, Allen allegedly became unfriendly and distant, and stopped expressing interest in Willis's personal life. Communication was limited strictly to business matters, or encouraging Willis to resume her home bible study. Willis alleges that Allen also stopped complimenting Willis's work, and that Allen also stopped driving Willis between the two complexes.

Tomeka Willis was terminated in July 2009, after Allen requested that another employee telephone Willis and test her "assistant rental agent" abilities. Willis allegedly failed the test -- allegedly telling the prospective apartment renter that no units were available at one complex, and that units at the other could not be shown on Saturdays.

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MIKE BOYLE v. GLAS-WELD SYSTEMS INC is an ongoing August 2011 Oregon employee discrimination lawsuit in which the defendant is a Jehovah's Witness owned and operated corporation. Glas-Weld Systems was founded in Bend, Oregon, in 1983, by George Edward Alexander, his brother, and his son-in-law, named Thomas R. Spoo. "Hap" Alexander was a Jehovah's Witness Minister, who had spent time in Brazil as a foreign missionary for the WatchTower Society. Thomas Spoo is the current President, and he is a Jehovah's Witness. Other administrative and management staff are also Jehovah's Witnesses.

The plaintiff, Mike Boyle, was the President of Glas-Weld from 2005 to 2009, but he was not a Jehovah's Witness. Boyle alleges that Thomas Spoo and the other Jehovah's Witness owners and managers created a harassing work environment filled with behaviors based on the WatchTower religion. Boyle alleges that he was commanded at various times to "act as though he were a Jehovah's Witness". Boyle alleges that he was once chastised for having prepared a marketing presentation which included a photo of the Pope. Boyle alleges that Tom Spoo condemned the presentation because Spoo believed that the Pope was the "Anti-Christ". Spoo allegedly told Boyle that all future presentations must comply with WatchTower teachings.

Boyle also alleges that as President he formally complained when Thomas Spoo refused to hire a gay person due to WatchTower teachings. Boyle also alleges that he refused to sign a letter intended to qualify Spoo for the company's health insurance program, because it allegedly falsified the number of hours worked by Spoo. (Thomas Spoo and Sonia Alexander Spoo lived in North Carolina sometime during Boyle's tenure at Glas-Weld, which may explain why Boyle served as President for four years.)

Boyle alleges that he resigned in August 2009 after being told that he could resign or be fired. Thereafter, Glas-Weld pursued criminal charges against Boyle for allegedly stealing the company's customer list before he left. That case is pending.

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TALOREN GOVAN v. SECURITY NATIONAL FINANCIAL CORPORATION was a 2010-11 Arizona federal court decision. Between May 2008 and April 2010, Taloren Govan, who was not a Jehovah's Witness, worked at three funeral homes owned by Security National Financial Corporation: Crystal Rose Funeral Home, Adobe Chapel Funeral Home, and Greer-Wilson Funeral Home. After being initially hired as a Manager, Govan was demoted three times before being terminated. Govan filed suit against SNFC, in January 2010, alleging (1) disparate treatment because of race and religion, (2) hostile work environment, (3) retaliation and wrongful termination, (4) various forms of race discrimination, (5) intentional infliction of emotional distress, and (6) negligent supervision. In May 2011, SNFC's motion for summary judgment was granted by the USDC.

Govan's unsuccessful lawsuit alleged that he suffered adverse employment actions due to his African-American race, and because he was NOT a Jehovah's Witness. Govan claimed that the majority of the employees at Greer-Wilson Funeral Home, including his supervisor Eddie Lopez, were Jehovah's Witnesses. WatchTower literature was allegedly disseminated at the funeral home, and a co-worker, named Sandra Vargus, allegedly commented that Eddie Lopez preferred employees who were Jehovah's Witnesses. The USDC ruled, in part:

Plaintiff has presented no direct evidence of religious discrimination on the part of Lopez or any other employee. Nor is there evidence showing that Plaintiff himself was preached to or asked to read religious material. The mere fact that Lopez and other employees are Jehovah's Witnesses who may proselytize their faith is not sufficient circumstantial evidence of pretext to defeat summary judgment. ... ... ... ...

The conduct purportedly creating a racially hostile work environment consists of Lopez's remark that Plaintiff does not eat Mexican food ... , and several comments by co-worker Sandra Vargas: that Plaintiff "acted and looked like his brother Bruce Abby" (referring to Plaintiff's African-American predecessor), that "you know how you guys dress," that "corporate would take a Mexican's word over a black person's word any day," and that she did not like Plaintiff. ... . Plaintiff also notes that Abby had been called "nigger" and "myate" on at least two occasions ... , but presents no evidence that he personally heard those racial slurs. ...

The hostile work environment claims appear to be based solely on race. ... To the extent Plaintiff purports to assert such a claim based on religion ... , summary judgment will be granted. The comments Vargas made about Lopez's preference for Jehovah's Witnesses ... are stray remarks, and providing religious literature at work does not "reach the level of hostility or abuse." ... In short, "there is insufficient evidence of harassment on the basis of religion to support a [hostile work environment] claim." ... ...

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THE FOLLOWING "SITUATION" WAS POSTED ON A LEGAL HELP FORUM IN 2010:

My question involves criminal law for the state of TENNESSEE.

My husband is on Parole, he got out last July ... his Parole Officer happens to be a Jehovah's Witness and he has been rather pushy about his religious beliefs. In September of last year he invited himself to our home for dinner and brought his whole family, after dinner he proceeded to have an hour long religious discussion with us. Ever since then he has been coming over once a week to have these religious conversion meetings and has been sending other JWs to our home randomly to have the same talks. He has also made it quit clear he wants us to attend his church at least twice a month. We feel obligated to do whatever he asks since he holds my husband's freedom in his hands. He has been very easy on my husband as far as the parole goes until last week when we refused to continue to attend his church and have the weekly conversion meetings. He has since been very distant and has come down very hard on my husband, being very strict and less than friendly. We are afraid, by some of the things he has said, that he is looking now for a reason to violate my husband...this doesn't sound like proper behavior to me and I wondered what we could do about it. Thanks.

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Having recently posted the above Parole Officer scenario, such reminded me of a court case which I have been waiting for some time to post, because I can neither find the file nor have my attempts to re-locate the decision been successful. In any event, I believe this was a "Court of Appeals" opinion, and I'm almost certain it was from California. My recollection is that a Male reared in a JW Family committed a serious felony -- possibly rape or murder -- and was convicted at trial. Thereafter, the Male fired his trial attorney, and the new attorney appealed the conviction on a number of grounds, including the allegation that the trial attorney recommended by the Male's JW Family was also a JW. Male alleged that JW Attorney had not done a proper job of representing him at trial because JW Attorney allegedly had spent much of the time and his interest in converting Male to the WatchTower religion, rather than working on his case. If anyone finds this case, please drop me a note. Thanks.

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PATRICIA FOLINO ET AL v. WORLD CARPETS INC was a 1993-1998 Georgia federal lawsuit which was brought against the JEHOVAH'S WITNESS OWNED World Carpets, Inc., of Dalton, Georgia. World Carpets, Inc. was a forerunner of the now publicly traded Mohawk Industries, Inc., currently the second largest floor covering company in the world. World Carpets, Inc. was founded in 1954 by a Jehovah's Witness couple named Shaheen Azeez Shaheen (Palestinian immigrant) and Piera Barbaglia Shaheen. Thereafter, their sons, John A. Shaheen (Financial Patron of WatchTower Bethelite Natheer Salih - 2009, 2010, 2011) and David M. Shaheen, helped grow World Carpets into the 12th largest floor covering company in the world at the time that it was merged into the publicly traded Mohawk Industries, Inc. in 1998.

In 1992, World Carpets fired ten of its "Territory Managers" -- sales managers who worked in various locations across the United States. Nine of the ten terminated "Territory Managers" were females. World Carpets replaced the ten terminated "Territory Manager" positions with six newly created "Regional Vice President" positions, which were all filled with males.

In 1993, the lead plaintiff, Patricia Folino, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and four of the other terminated female "Territory Managers" filed gender discrimination complaints with the EEOC, which took a year just to agree to investigate their claims. In November 1996, the EEOC ruled that World Carpets had failed to promote the five women because of their sex, and thereafter had discharged the five women because of their sex. The EEOC reportedly also found that World Carpets had also discriminated against other female employees. The EEOC issued Notices of Right To Sue to each of the five plaintiffs in January 1998.

In February 1998, this federal lawsuit was filed by the five former employees. The five female plaintiffs alleged that each had expressed a desire to be promoted into management, but World Carpet "did not want women in management positions."  Lead Plaintiff Patricia Folino claimed that she had been told on several occasions by a senior executive at World Carpet that "although she had more ability than 95% of the current management team, she would never be given an opportunity in management because the company simply would not promote women or blacks." It was also alleged that despite each plaintiffs' outstanding performance, none of them were ever offered a management position, none of them were ever offered an interview for a management position, and none of them were ever notified about openings that existed. "Decisions were simply made by the all-male management to promote those men that they liked the best, regardless of qualification." The Plaintiffs further alleged that at the time plaintiffs were terminated, there had never been a women in a managerial position in the sales and marketing departments at World Carpet Inc.

The five female Plaintiffs also alleged that World Carpet's management constantly made disparaging and sex-biased remarks about both the plaintiffs and women in general. Patricia Folino alleged that she was told that management thought that "you women are a joke and can't sell a goddamned thing and I ought to get rid of all you. ... If I got rid of the women, I'd be a lot better off." Another plaintiff named Salganik alleged that she was frequently told by a senior executive at World Carpet that although he admired women, he found them "unsuited for business on a wholesale level."

The five female Plaintiffs further alleged that in addition to denying them opportunities for promotions, all female employees at World Carpet were routinely excluded from business-related social gatherings where clients were present and important company business was conducted. Female employees were excluded from golf outings and dinners that their male colleagues were invited to attend. When the plaintiffs asked to attend such events, they allegedly were told, "It's a Man Thing." Plaintiff Salganik alleged that she was excluded from a business meeting with one of her own accounts and was only allowed to attend when the client protested.

INTERESTINGLY, the lawsuit also alleged that management at World Carpet routinely invited the male sales representatives and potential clients to STRIP CLUBS during company meetings known as the "Market", which were held annually in Atlanta.

World Carpets Inc. negotiated a confidential settlement with the five plaintiffs.

Also, see NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS BOARD v. WORLD CARPETS OF NEW YORK and WORLD CARPETS, INC. v. DICK LITTRELL'S NEW WORLD CARPETS.

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TOTAL CAR FRANCHISING CORPORATION v. DOUG ANDERSON was a 1998-2000 North Carolina federal court case. Total Car Franchising Corporation is/was the parent corporation of a nationwide franchise system business which provides mobile paint chip restoration, dent removal, and other auto finish services. The business was founded by a Jehovah's Witness in 1991. In 2000, the vast majority of its corporate officers and employees were Jehovah's Witnesses, and the majority of its franchisees were Jehovah's Witnesses. TCFC franchises are best known by its COLORS ON PARADE service marks, trademarks, and trade dress. TCFC is a South Carolina corporation whose actual headquarters is in Duluth, Georgia.

Doug Anderson, also a Jehovah's Witness, became the franchisee of the Winston-Salem, North Carolina territory in September 1996. However, by April 1997, a contract dispute arose between Doug Anderson and TCFC, including TCFC's North Carolina field agent, who was a Jehovah's Witness named Forest Walters . Corporate President Timothy Galfas II, who is a Former high-ranked Watchtower Bethelite and Gilead School Teacher*, and whom in 2000 had been a JW Elder for over 30 years, appointed another Jehovah's Witness, named Michael Sulewski, who was TCFC's Director of Franchise Development, to resolve the dispute with Anderson. (*The original name was "Watchtower Bible College of Gilead" in the WatchTower Cult's routine modus operandi of exaggeration. In 1947/48, the WatchTower Cult was forced to change "College" to "School" because "Gilead" did not meet the New York Department of Education's standards for use of the label, "College".)

After Michael Sulewski's attempts to resolve the dispute with Anderson failed, Sulewski told Anderson that he was taking their dispute to "the highest court" -- Anderson's own local Winston-Salem Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses. Interestingly, Michael Sulewski also warned Anderson that he could be "disfellowshipped" if he were found by the Congregation's Judicial Committee to be in the wrong in his dispute with TCFC. Anderson did not dispute allowing a JW Judicial Committee to resolve the dispute between TCFC and himself.

While many Jehovah's Witnesses may be surprised, if not shocked, that a JW Congregation would lend itself to resolving business disputes between its JW Members, much less including JWs who were residents of other states, there are other cases posted on this website where such has occurred. In fact, Michael Sulewski testified at trial that Timothy Galfas had told him that TCFC had used Judicial Committees to resolve disputes with JW Franchisees on several previous occasions, and that TCFC had "lost" only one single time. Tim Galfas testified after Sulewski, and disputed Sulewski's testimony by claiming that those cases involved disputes between franchisees, and did not involve TCFC as a party. In fact, Timothy Galfas is the author of one or more JW-related books, and this court even noted that Galfas had authored an essay entitled "Christians and Contracts", in which Tim Galfas advocates the resolution of business disputes by Judicial Committees of the Jehovah's Witnesses. (See below.)

Michael Sulewski, and another Jehovah's Witness, named Thomas Hambrick, who was TCFC's Vice President of Franchise Administration drafted a "charging document" against Doug Anderson, which was presented to the Judicial Committee. Anderson was accused of the "spiritual failings" of "lying, thievery, and fraud". "Lying" was defined as failing to live up to contract terms. "Thievery" was defined as failing to pay amounts due under the contract. "Fraud" was defined as never having intended to comply with the contract.

The Judicial Committee held two sessions of hearings with Doug Anderson and representatives from TCFC in attendance. The Judicial Committee rendered a decision resolving the dispute completely in favor of Doug Anderson. The Judicial Committee found TCFC to be in breach of the Franchise Agreement, that the contract between the parties was dissolved, and that Anderson was under no further contractual obligation to TCFC.

Doug Anderson, and even TCFC Managers Mike Sulewski and Tom Hambrick, thought that that was the end of matters. However, in early 1998, Anderson received a letter from TCFC's attorneys notifying Anderson that TCFC was beginning to take steps to arrange first for a mediation, and then for arbitration before the American Arbitration Association, per the franchise agreement between TCFC and Anderson. The owners of the company, Rob and Kathy Lowery, who allegedly had disassociated themselves from Jehovah's Witnesses sometime during this mess, were later blamed by various former JW Employees as the ones who ordered further action against Anderson. In any event, Anderson refused to take part in any further mediation or arbitration proceedings with TCFC.

In August 1998, after a proceeding that Anderson did not attend, the arbitrators found that Anderson breached the Franchise Agreement between the parties by abandoning his business while operating as a franchisee of TCFC. They further found that Anderson continued to violate the non-competition and confidentiality provisions of the Franchise Agreement after his termination by TCFC. The arbitrators awarded TCFC $50,000.00 from Anderson for his breach, $22,261.50 for TCFC's attorney's fees, and $8,449.75 for arbitration fees.

Thereafter, TCFC filed this federal lawsuit pursuant to the Federal Arbitration Act to have the arbitration award "confirmed". The North Carolina USDC denied confirmation, because the second arbitration lacked a contract basis or foundation because the first arbitration conducted by the Jehovah's Witnesses Judicial Committee dissolved the franchise contract. The second arbitration award was null, void, and unenforceable, and equitable estoppel applied to preclude plaintiff from denying the Judicial Committee decision.

This court case apparently led to quite a shakeup amongst powerful Jehovah's Witnesses in several states. According to the published decision from this case, TCFC's owners, Rob and Kathy Lowery ended up leaving the JWs, and high-ranked JW Employees Timothy Galfas, Michael Sulewski, and Thomas Hambrick had left TCFC by the time of the USDC trial in December 1999. However, another Jehovah's Witness, named Christian Kopp, was still TCFC's Vice President of Franchise Operations. This excerpt from the USDC opinion is very "interesting":

While it is clear that Sulewski and Hambrick agreed with Anderson that the proceeding before the Judicial Committee was to be a final proceeding ... , Timothy Galfas and Christian Kopp denied at trial that this was their understanding. ... Kopp opined at trial that Sulewski just "pushed too far," and lacked authority to commit TCFC to final arbitration before the Judicial Committee, Kopp strongly opined that a Jehovah's Witnesses' Judicial Committee would not under any circumstances resolve a business dispute between an individual member and a corporation, which could not be a congregation member. When it was pointed out to him that that is clearly what happened in this case, he ventured that the Judicial Committee was "out of line." Kopp further believed that Sulewski was "out of line" in submitting the matter to the Judicial Committee.

Upon review, the Court finds the evidence to be clear that Sulewski had the authority to submit the Anderson dispute to the elders of the Jehovah's Witnesses for final resolution. Sulewski did so in the first instance because he understood from Timothy Galfas that Judicial Committees had been used on prior occasions to resolve business disputes that arose under the company's Franchise Agreement. Galfas was well aware that the Anderson dispute was headed for resolution before the Jehovah's Witnesses, and he informed both Sulewski and Hambrick that the Judicial Committee's decision would be final. Although he never used the particular word "final," he told them that if Anderson won before the Judicial Committee, the company would simply "beat him in the marketplace."
Both Sulewski and Hambrick understood from Galfas' statements that he, as President of TCFC, intended the Judicial Committee's decision to be final, and the Court draws the same inference from Galfas' words.

Galfas testified at trial, when recalled to the stand after the testimony of Christian Kopp, that Sulewski had exceeded his authority when he represented to Defendant Anderson that the proceeding before the Judicial Committee was to be a final arbitration. But when asked on further cross-examination exactly when he had formed this conclusion, Galfas responded that he had realized this absence of authority for the first tine "during this morning's testimony by Chris Kopp." The Court finds this testimony to be remarkable. Only now, years after the events in question, does Galfas, who was president of the company, come to a realization that the highly visible and well-known actions taken by his ombudsman long ago wore "unauthorized." And this is despite the fact that he, not Kopp, was the TCFC officer who dealt with Sulewski on a continuing basis and gave the instructions that Sulewski acted on. Kopp was largely uninvolved in the Anderson matter and had no basis, other than utter surmise, for knowing whether or not Galfas authorized final arbitration of the Anderson dispute before the Judicial Committee. Galfas' assessment at trial concerning a lack of authority by Sulewski is diametrically at odds with the Court's finding that Galfas advised both Sulewski and Hambrick that the Judicial Committee's decision would be respected and observed by TCFC as the end of the matter and that TCFC would just "beat [Anderson] in the marketplace" if it lost.

Galfas authorized and ratified Sulewski's agreement to finally arbitrate before the Judicial Committee when he told Sulewski that the company, if it lost, would beat Anderson in the marketplace. There would be no need to rely on an ability to compete in the marketplace if the company still held full legal rights under the contract to seek additional arbitration. Galfas was unpersuasive at trial in attempting to explain away the obvious meaning of his words to Sulewski. When asked for the first time on direct examination if his statement meant that he intended to be bound by the elders' decision, he responded, "No. No. I think the idea was that whatever happened there, we had to continue working, the company had to show in the marketplace, which is the ultimate arbitrator of any business, that it was not lying down and playing dead, but in the field, the franchisee locally had to do whatever they had to do to keep their business going."  This response lacks cogency. The Court considers that Galfas was trying to avoid the obvious implication of his words and, of course, failed.

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THOMAS WALTER GIBSON v. TOTAL CAR FRANCHISING CORPORATION was a 2001-2004 North Carolina federal court case. Although it is not known how many Jehovah's Witnesses remained employees and franchisees of TCFC after 1999, this case involves franchisees from the startup days of TCFC, and TCFC employees already identified as JWs.

Thomas W. Gibson, and his partner, Donald Campbell, became TCFC franchisees in February 1993. Their territory was Tennessee and Northern Alabama, which they divided among themselves so that Don Campbell's territory was Northern Tennessee, and Tom Gibson's territory was Southern Tennessee and Northern Alabama. By 1996, a conflict had developed between Gibson and Campbell concerning Campbell's continuing encroachment into Gibson's territory. TCFC's JW management suggested that Gibson sell his franchise interest to Gary Labro, who had become a limited rights franchisee in Gibson's territory. Gibson sold his franchisee to Gary Labro in February 1997 for a purchase price of $168,000, which included a $30,000.00 downpayment, a $138,000.00 promissory note, and a security agreement that created an interest in the franchise to secure the promissory note. Gibson and Labro signed a Franchise Transfer Agreement, and Gibson and TCFC signed a Termination and Release Agreement.

TCFC was aware that Gibson would not sell the franchise without the assurance of a security agreement. The security agreement provided that, upon Labro's default, Gibson would resume operation of the franchise. The security agreement stated, "to secure the payment to Creditor of the Secured Indebtedness, the Debtor hereby grants to Creditor a security interest in all of the Debtor's right, title and interest in his COLORS ON PARADE Franchise Agreements". Timothy Galfas, President of TCFC, and Thomas Hambrick, Director of Contract Compliance for TCFC, who were both Jehovah's Witnesses, both reviewed and approved all of the documents associated with the transfer. However, later at trial, Tom Hambrick testified that TCFC never intended to honor the security agreement.

Gary Labro defaulted on the promissory note in September 1998, which coincidentally was around the same time that many other JWs left employment at TCFC. Labro and Gibson agreed that in satisfaction of the obligation and pursuant to the security agreement, Labro would transfer the franchise back to Gibson. Gibson, through written communication to TCFC, claimed a security interest and requested transfer of the franchise. TCFC responded that Gibson did not have a security interest in the franchise. Labro asked James Squires, Tim Galfas' successor as President at TCFC, to transfer the franchise to Gibson. Jim Squires stated that "it would be a cold day in hell" before Gibson got his franchise back. As a result, Gary Labro refused to transfer the franchise and, instead, abandoned it.

Gibson filed suit against TCFC in August 2001 alleging that TCFC (1) defrauded him by inducing him to sell his franchise to a purchaser through the promise of a security interest in the event of default; (2) committed unfair and deceptive trade practices; and (3) tortiously interfered with the contract between Gibson and Labro. Summary judgment was granted TCFC with respect to the claim for tortious interference with a contract, but denied with respect to the claims for fraud and unfair and deceptive trade practices. Gibson was ultimately awarded the balance due on the promissory note of $176,124.00, plus $550,000.00 in punitive damages. Here is an interesting excerpt from this court's decision evaluating the high punitive damage award:

... the jury found that TCFC defrauded Mr. Gibson by inducing him to sell his franchise agreement through a representation -- that he would have a security interest in the franchise -- that it never intended to honor. Mr. Hambrick testified that he had assured Gibson that if he sold his franchise to Labro he would retain a security interest in it. ... Mr. Hambrick testified that despite repeated assurances to Gibson, TCFC never intended to honor the security interest and was only using it as a means to induce Gibson to sell his franchise. ... There was more than sufficient evidence to support a jury finding of malice. In fact, based on testimony that the territory was franchised to Campbell shortly after being "abandoned" by Labro and irrefutable evidence that TCFC had concealed that information during discovery, the degree of reprehensibility in this case is very high.

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FEDERATED EQUIPMENT AND SUPPLY COMPANY, INC. AND LUKAS AMERICAN, INC. v. MIRO MOLD & DUPLICATING CORPORATION, CO-OP MOLD &ENGINEERING, INC., AND JULES STEIN was a 1988 Illinois state trial and appellate court case which apparently involved one or more Jehovah's Witness suing one or possibly two other Jehovah's Witnesses, such that the East Bolingbrook, Illinois Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses, the Kankakee, Illinois Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses, and even the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society became involved in the conflict.

FEDESCO and LUKAS were in the business of manufacturing and distributing tools used in rescue operations. In 1979, one of the principal owners of FEDESCO and LUKAS, a Jehovah's Witness named George Weigand, contracted with a second Jehovah's Witness, named Jules Stein, who was a machinist and a principal owner of MIRO and CO-OP, to prepare replacement parts for a rescue tool distributed by LUKAS.

Jules Stein began experimenting with different designs and materials for rescue tools which eventually resulted in the execution of a contract between FEDESCO and MIRO for the development of a spreader arm and cutter for the rescue tool, in March 1981. The contract provided that: MIRO was to produce prototypes of the spreader and cutter; all prototype materials, drawings, and samples were to be the property of FEDESCO; MIRO was not to compete with FEDESCO, and would treat trade information confidentially; and if FEDESCO chose to produce the rescue tools themselves, all samples, drawings, and other related items would be turned over to FEDESCO.

After a prototype spreader arm was tested in September 1981, negotiations concerning production and pricing began. However, negotiations broke down in December 1981. George Weigand sent Jules Stein a letter withdrawing all prior offers, and requesting the return of the drawings and other materials related to the project. Further attempts to resolve the differences between Weigand and Stein were unsuccessful. Apparently, there also developed a dispute over money that Stein believed that Weigand's companies owed him for the services that he had performed.

Thereafter, George Weigand took his dispute with Jules Stein to the East Bolingbrook Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses. It is unclear whether that was Stein's JW congregation, Weigand's JW congregation, or both men's JW congregation. In any event, a Judicial Committee of three JW Elders was formed, the dispute between Weigand and Stein was heard, and a ruling was given in June 1982. The Judicial Committee ruled in favor of George Weigand, and held that Stein was precluded from disclosing, manufacturing, or selling the products he had developed for Weigand. To effectuate the decision, Jules Stein executed a contract not to develop the products, and Weigand executed a promissory note in favor of Jules Stein in the amount of $14,434.00.

However, Jules Stein appealed the Judicial Committee's decision, and a special committee of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society was appointed to consider the appeal. In January 1983, the Appeals Committee reversed the Judicial Committee decision, and ruled in favor of Jules Stein. The Appeals Committee ruled that the JC-mandated contract executed by Stein to not develop the products was unenforceable, that Stein had the right to develop the products, and that George Weigand must still pay the balance of the promissory note.

Interestingly, back in June 1982, at some point around the same time of the JC Hearing (unknown if before, during, or after), George Weigand learned that another local company was promoting a spreader and cutter which were the same as those developed for FEDESCO by Jules Stein. Weigand discovered that a George Rademacher, President of Viking Rescue Systems, Inc. and Rad Engineering Co., Inc. somehow became involved in the development of a spreader arm through some type of association with Jules Stein, in 1981. By June 1982, VIKING was promoting a spreader and cutter which were the same as those developed for FEDESCO, and a pamphlet promoting the VIKING rescue tools was being published by RAD.

After the January 1983 reversal by the WatchTower Appeals Committee, FEDESCO and LUKAS filed a lawsuit in February 1983 against Jules Stein and his two companies, as well as George Rademacher, and his two companies, which alleged misappropriation of confidential trade information; breach of contract relating to the development of certain rescue tools; that a civil conspiracy existed between Jules Stein and George Rademacher to appropriate trade secrets and confidential information belonging to plaintiffs; and misappropriation of plaintiffs' trade secrets and confidential information.

At trial, Stein attempted to raise the defense that the case had already been resolved in the final and binding "arbitration"  performed by the Jehovah's Witnesses and the WatchTower Society, which had not only been consented to by Weigand, but had been initiated by him. Weigand filed a motion to strike that defense, and presented a memorandum in support of the motion. In the memorandum, Weigand claimed that a JW Judicial Committee only entertained "moral issues", and that the only sanction the Judicial Committee could impose was expulsion from the congregation.

In March 1984, Weigand filed an affidavit of a John H. Ponting, who was an Elder in the Kankakee Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses, and who had served as the Chairman of the Judicial Committee which had ruled in Weigand's favor. Seeming to contradict the very decision of the Judicial Committee which he chaired, John Ponting testified that the Judicial Committee was concerned only with moral and not business matters, and that the JC's decision was not binding on the parties.

On March 13, 1984, at a court hearing relating to this "prior arbitration" defense, Weigand's attorney read an excerpt from "Aid to Bible Understanding", which indicated that JW Judicial Committees considered doctrinal and moral matters in deciding excommunication issues, and argued that the Weigand-Stein Judicial Committee had considered only the morality of Jule Stein's conduct. The trial court inquired whether an arbitration agreement between the parties existed, and, when defendants' counsel replied that there was no arbitration clause involved in this case, the court found that there had been no arbitration of the issues in the case and granted plaintiffs' motion to strike defendants' "prior arbitration" defense.

The trial court ruled in favor of FEDESCO and LUKAS and awarded compensatory damages in the amount of $188,000.00 and also awarded $883,080.00 in punitive damages. Stein and Rademacher, and their companies, were enjoined from making or selling rescue tools which utilized the parts or features claimed by FEDESCO and LUKAS.

JULES STEIN appealed the trial court's ruling regarding the "prior arbitration" defense, as well as the award of damages. In February 1988, an Illinois appellate court remanded the case for a new trial to consider the "prior arbitration" defense as well as damages. Outcome unknown. I also wonder how many of the mentioned people remained Jehovah's Witnesses.

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SMOKE v. NATIONAL ELECTRIC CARBON PRODUCTS ET AL apparently is an ongoing 2006-7 Pennsylvania federal court case involving a Jehovah's Witness Manager named Richard Smoke. Smoke began his career at NECP in 1973, and apparently was successfully promoted up the chain of command over the years. In 1994, Richard Smoke was even promoted to head up NECP's human resources department. In 2001, Smoke was again promoted, this time to "Co-Site Director", a position which reported directly to the corporate President.

Smoke's lawsuit alleged that two other upper management level employees engaged in a pattern of sexual and religious harassment of Smoke, which consisted of calling Smoke disparaging names, making fun of his WatchTower religion, and telling jokes or making comments which were lewd or sexual in nature. Smoke claimed that he requested that such conduct stop, but it did not. Smoke also claimed that he reported the conduct to the corporate President, and asked him to stop such conduct, but that he failed to act. Smoke further alleged that this harassment so affected his health that he was involuntarily forced to stop working in June 2004.

Thereafter, Smoke filed a formal complaint with the Pennsylvania Human Rights Commission. This federal lawsuit followed. In a February 2007 ruling, the USDC dismissed the three individual defendants from the Title VII claims, and erroneously dismissed one defendant under state law. No info on what has happened since.

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In March 1982, New York City suicide-prevention professionals discovered that a defunct telephone number that had once been assigned to Kings County Hospital, in Brooklyn, as a "suicide prevention hotline", had been re-assigned to a Manhattan clothing store. The problem was that, although the number had been changed in the Brooklyn telephone directory, it had not been changed in the Manhattan directory. As long as the telephone number went unassigned, Manhattan callers received a message that that specific number was no longer in service. However, once that number was re-assigned to the Manhattan clothing store in January 1982, the clothing store began to receive calls from distraught individuals seeking suicide counseling.

That Manhattan clothing store was managed by a 20 year-old Haitian-American Jehovah's Witness, named Gary Dorestant, who, instead of notifying someone of what was occurring, used this life-threatening mishap as an opportunity to "witness" to the callers -- on company time. Not only did this Jehovah's Witness Manager not report the problem, but after the situation became public knowledge, this JW even refused the telephone company's offer to change the number -- admittedly so that he could continue to receive calls from people seeking the "suicide prevention hotline", so that he could "witness" to them.

Dorestant told a reporter that on his days off, he walked the streets of Brooklyn's Eastern Parkway and East New York sections, trying to get people to listen to his WatchTower message, but, "Most of them won't even talk. They say they're too busy."  Dorestant said that after months of people turning their backs and slamming their doors on him, it was nice to talk to people who would listen to his WatchTower message. Hopefully, someone contacted that idiot's corporate home office and got the number changed.

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In the latter 1990s, a very attractive, mid-30s, divorced JW Mother of a teenage son and daughter, who was publicly known to have lived a morally irregular life prior to converting to the Jehovah's Witnesses, experienced behavior by a Jehovah's Witness Elder, and thereafter behavior by his fellow JW Elders, which became a stepping stone to her figuring out that Jehovah's Witnesses were not the people whom she had been led to believe they were when she converted. The Mount Vernon, Kentucky Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses Elder in question was a business owner in his 60s, who offered to train Attractive Single JW Female as one of his traveling sales reps after learning that she was having financial and employment difficulties. The training included traveling outside of Rockcastle County via automobile on sales calls. It was during these trips that JW Elder allegedly gradually started to act in a manner toward Attractive Single JW Female which she considered improper, and made her uncomfortable. Attractive Single JW Female did not panic. Due to her love for "the truth", and the respect which she held for this JW Elder, she wrote off his behavior as a factor of his age. Attractive Single JW Female even tactfully spoke with JW Elder's Wife about updating the way she dressed, wearing additional makeup, and updating her hairstyle -- all in an effort to re-focus JW Elder's attention toward his own JW Wife. However, one day when JW Elder and Attractive Single JW Female were alone, he allegedly kissed her. Due to the employment relationship and the fear that JW Elder might repeat the alleged kiss, or even worse, Attractive Single JW Female felt that she had no other choice but to speak with one of the other JW Elders, who told her that he would look into the situation. JW Elder pleaded familial affection toward Attractive Single JW Female, as if she were "his daughter", or other close relative, and pleaded his sorrow, and offered apology that his concern for her well being had been so misinterpreted. Attractive Single JW Female found it ludicrous that the other JW Elders believed that she could not tell the difference between a male who was merely looking out for her well being, and a male who was looking for ... ... . The employment relationship was mutually ended, but as JW Readers suspect, Attractive Single JW Female was never treated quite the same again by the JW Elders or their Elderette wives. Eventually, Attractive Single JW Female received more and more enlightenment which allowed her to successfully move on with her life.

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IN THE MATTER OF GORDY'S TRUCK STOP LLC was a 2005 Oregon court case which involved a Jehovah's Witness named Marlene Edwards. Marlene Edwards was the Kitchen Manager at Gordy's Truck Stop in LaPine, Oregon. As a result of Marlene Edwards' unlawful employment practices against an unnamed kitchen employee, the owner of Gordy's Truck Stop was ordered to pay $30,000.00 to the unlawfully terminated kitchen employee.
 
Employee started working as a kitchen employee at Gordy's in March 2001, and was fired by Edward's in March 2002. Marlene Edwards had been Kitchen Manager and Employee's immediate supervisor since September 2001. In November 2001, Employee's father, who lived in this same small town, was diagnosed with cancer and was told that he had only about 6 months to live. Per Gordy's written personnel policy, Employee requested, and was granted, 12 weeks of "family leave", starting February 3, 2002, so that she could help take care of her father and mother during this tragic period.
 
Starting during Employee's very first week of leave, Marlene Edwards telephoned the Employee an average of once per week wanting to know when Employee was going to return to work.  On multiple occasions, Edwards stated that Employee "needed" to return to work, and that if Employee did not return to work that Employee would lose her job.  On multiple occasions, Edwards also made extremely insensitive comments to the effect that Employee's father "could linger on forever".  Several telephone calls were made to the home of Employee's parents. Edwards even spoke once to Employee's mother, and told the mother that Employee should return to work because her husband "could last forever".  While telephoning the parents' home, an Aunt of the Employee spoke with Edwards twice, and Edwards made the same remark about Employee's father "lingering on", and Edwards even asked the Aunt if she would try to convince Employee to return to work. Edwards also went to the parents' home to speak with Employee on three occasions. The first time was sometime around February 10, when Edwards delivered a gift basket from the Employer. A second time was sometime between that visit and the visit described in the next paragraph. Each time, Edwards pressured Employee to return to work.
 
Edwards telephoned Employee on her birthday, March 5, 2002, and told Employee that she would be fired if she did not return to work. Employee went into work that one day, but telephoned Edwards on March 6 and told Edwards that she would not work again until her leave expired or her father died. Employee's father died the next day, March 7, 2002, around 5:00 PM.  Edwards showed up at the parents' home within 3 hours of the father's death, wanting to know when Employee would be back to work.
 
Edwards finally fired Employee around March 14, because Employee was still caring for her mother and matters relating to her father's death. When Employee complained to the owner of Gordy's, he denied knowledge of Edward's actions, and told Employee to take her complaints up with Edwards. At trial, the owner continued to plead ignorance, but the ALJ ruled that Edwards acted as the owner's agent, and thus was responsible for Edward's unlawful actions towards Employee.
 
The ALJ ruled that the Employer, through Edwards as his agent, constructively denied family leave to Employee, and retaliated against Employee for taking family leave by unlawfully firing Employee.  The ALJ granted Employee's request for compensation for her mental suffering and emotional distress in the requested amount of $30,000.00.
 
Employer should have been happy that Employee did not "request" more!!! This decision briefly mentioned that Marlene Edwards had previously called on Employee's parents at least twice in the past while Edwards was performing door-to-door recruiting for the Jehovah's Witnesses. Employee's mother was a Catholic, and she considered Edwards' visits as "unwelcomed", and as "coming to peddle her religion to an unwilling audience".  It is anyone's guess as to what effect, if any, those previous visits with Employee's parents had in this scenario. Jehovah's Witnesses believe that anyone who specifically rejects their "gospel" will be killed by God at Armageddon.  JWs also believe that rejectors of the WatchTower gospel who die prior to Armageddon will not be resurrected. Thus, it is conceivable that since Edwards' earlier recruiting efforts had been rebuffed, that Edwards considered Employee's father to be deadmeat. There is no doubt in my mind that the WatchTower Society's unorthodox teachings regarding death in general played a significant role in Marlene Edwards' insensitive comments about the father's anticipated life span. Anyone who has ever attended a JW funeral, and experienced the quasi-party atmosphere at most, knows what likely occurred throughout this scenario.

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MORE JW MANAGERS/SUPERVISORS COURT CASES ON NEXT PAGE 2

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RECOMMENDED READING:

Wifely Subjection: Mental Health Issues in Jehovah’s Witness Women

Jehovah's Witnesses and the Problem of Mental Illness

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

 

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