MISCELLANEOUS JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES EMPLOYMENT CASES
 
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VESTER LEE FLANAGAN v. WDBJ-TV was a 2013-14 Virginia state court employment lawsuit filed by the VIRGINIA NEWSCAST SHOOTER. Incomplete details. After being fired in March 2013, after only eleven months of employment at WDBJ-TV, Vester Lee Flanagan filed complaints of racial discrimination and possibly sexual harassment (Flanagan possibly accused a homosexual Caucasian supervisor of sexual harassment) with the EEOC (unknown if a Right-To-Sue letter was issued by the EEOC), which Flanagan followed with the filing of this state court lawsuit, which alleged racial discrimination and harassment, wrongful termination, retaliation, hostile work environment, failure to pay overtime, sexual harassment, mental anguish, etc.
 
Vester Flanagan's allegations of multiple incidents of racial discrimination committed by management and co-workers included the appearance and disappearance of a "watermelon" inside WDBJ's offices at times and places that Flanagan believed to be directed toward him. Flanagan laughing even thought that he could "stack the deck" by requesting that the jury be comprised solely of "African-American women".
 
In the days following the WDBJ Newscast shooting, various WDBJ-TV spokespersons adamantly related that Vester Flanagan's lawsuit had been "DISMISSED" -- the implication being that Flanagan's lawsuit and its allegations were ruled groundless by a court of law. However, in his 23-page "suicide note", Vester Flanagan BOASTED that WDBJ-TV actually had confidentially SETTLED his lawsuit, and that is why Flanagan's lawsuit had been "dismissed". In fact, on July 2, 2014 -- only 12 days prior to trial -- the District Court in Roanoke had issued a Dismissal Order, which opened,

"Upon the agreement of Plaintiff and Defendant, and it appearing to this court that all matters of controversy between these parties have been fully and completely resolved and compromised, it is hereby ADJUDGED, DECREED, and ORDERED that this action be DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE, ... .

 
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VESTER LEE FLANAGAN v. WTWC-TV was a 2000-01 Florida federal employment racial discrimination and retaliation lawsuit filed by the VIRGINIA NEWSCAST SHOOTER against previous employer WTWC-TV in Tallahassee, Florida. Vester Flanagan initially filed this lawsuit incorrectly in Florida state court in February 2000 -- with the Maryland parent corporation of WTWC then having the lawsuit correctly removed to Florida federal court in March 2000. Flanagan began working as a Newscaster and Anchor for WTWC in March 1999 and filed charges of racial discrimination with the EEOC and the Florida Commission on Human Relations in December 1999. (Reportedly, Flanagan also complained of sexual orientation discrimination, but homosexuals were not then a protected class of employees.)
 
Flanagan alleged that a Caucasian supervisor called him a "monkey" sometime during Summer 1999. Flanagan further alleged that another Caucasian manager made offensive comments about African-Americans in general during Fall 1999, including calling A-As "lazy". Flanagan further alleged that another Caucasian manager made offensive comments about African-Americans criminals during Winter 1999, including calling one A-A criminal suspect "just another thug". Flanagan further alleged that another Caucasian manager told another A-A employee "to stop speaking ebonics". Flanagan further alleged that another Caucasian manager told another station employee that Flanagan got his job there only because Flanagan was "black". Flanagan further alleged that he was terminated at the end of 1999 in retaliation for filing racial discrimination complaints both internally and with the EEOC and the FCHR. Vester Flanagan sought compensation for extreme emotional distress, mental pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of past and future salary and benefits, blah, blah, blah.
 
Typically, and as anticipated, in 2001, WTWC-TV paid an unknown amount (possibly $15,000.00) to Vester Flanagan to make this "racial discrimination" lawsuit go away with as little negative publicity as possible.
 
 
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Submitted obituary of an African-American Jehovah's Witness named JOSEPH EYRL GILLETTE, of Marianna, Florida:
 
"... Joe worked at Winn Dixie for nearly 35 years as a produce manager. This is where most in the community met him. He would always greet them with his endearing wide smile and a Scriptural message as they passed his produce station."
 
If true, and not simply typical A-A "obituary hype", Joe must have been particularly beloved by Winn Dixie management.
 
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DANIEL RENTSCHLER v. TLC OFFICE SYSTEMS was a 2007 Texas court case which involved a Jehovah's Witness named Daniel Rentschler. Dan Rentschler alleged religious discrimination in that he was fired from his sales job at TLC Office Systems because he was a Jehovah's Witness. Two other former employees testified that they heard TLC's President make disparaging remarks about the JWs to Rentschler. TLC denied such, contending that the two witnesses were disgruntled, and maintained that its reasons for firing Rentschler were insubordination and poor performance. TLC also counter-claimed that Rentschler owed it $5,337.00 for draws against future sales commissions that he had received.  A Harris County jury ruled in TLC's favor -- awarding TLC $5,337.00 on its counterclaim, plus $15,000.00 for TLC's attorneys fees.
 
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AGENCY DEVELOPMENT, INC. and PATRICK D. PATTERSON v. MEDAMERICA INSURANCE COMPANY OF NEW YORK was a 2004 New York federal court case. According to multiple posts on a Jehovah's Witnesses discussion board, Patrick Dale Patterson is a Jehovah's Witness, and he is alleged to have employed multiple fellow Jehovah's Witnesses in his various business operations over the years.  Patrick Patterson is the founder of a nationwide Insurance products marketing company named UNITED INSURANCE GROUP, of which, Agency Development Inc. is a subsidiary. United Insurance Group of Milford, Michigan specializes in selling life and health insurance policies to senior citizens.  In 1999, Patterson sold UIG and its subsidiaries to an Allentown, Pennsylvania company named Penn Treaty American Corporation. However, Patterson continued to work as President and CEO of UIG until 2003, when Penn Treaty named Patterson as its' own Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer.
 
This 2004 New York federal anti-trust case arose out of a contract between the named parties in which AGENCY agreed to employ and train insurance agents to sell various insurance policies issued by MEDAMERICA. It appears that MedAmerica canceled the contract after Agency Development Inc. was sold to one of MedAmerica's competitors (?Penn Treaty?). Evidently, a number of ADI's employees resigned and then were employed by MedAmerica. ADI and Patterson filed suit alleging that MedAmerica had engaged in a course of conduct designed to put ADI out of business by raiding its employees, by engaging in unfair competition, and by engaging in other various illegal anti-trust actions. In March 2004, the USDC granted MedAmerica's motion for summary judgment and dismissed ADI's lawsuit. After reconsideration of parts of that ruling, and consideration of additional legal claims, the USDC dismissed on the merits in June 2004.
 
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CRAIG KLAPP v. UNITED INSURANCE GROUP AGENCY, INC., was a 2003 Michigan Supreme Court decision. Craig Klapp was employed as an insurance agent for United Insurance Group Agency. In January 1994, Klapp went into another line of business for a short period of time before returning to work for UIG. Klapp again stopped working for UIG in 1997.  Klapp thereafter sued UIG claiming that UIG owed him, but had failed to pay, renewal commissions allegedly owed him under the terms of the vesting schedule in his contract. At trial, the jury awarded Klapp $45,882.00, plus future commissions. On appeal, the Michigan Court of Appeals reversed and remanded the case to the trial court, directing the trial judge to enter a judgment in favor of UIG. Klapp moved for a rehearing, which was denied. On Klapp's appeal to the Supreme Court, that court remanded the case back to the Court of Appeals to consider solely the issue of whether Klapp should receive "double damages" and attorney fees, or UIG's claim that the jury had erroneously calculated the original damage award. Outcome unknown.
 
 
Also see: AGENCY DEVELOPMENT, INC. v. LAUTIERO, a 1997 Delaware Supreme Court decision; AGENCY DEVELOPMENT, INC. v. TRIGON, a 1998 Virginia trial court decision.

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FLOYD RIVERS JR v. UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE was a 1997-9 USPS employee EEOC decision which involved an African-American Jehovah's Witness named Floyd Rivers Jr. Rivers alleged that he was the subject of religious discrimination, racial discrimination, and age discrimination when he was denied overtime in one quarter of 1997. Rivers also alleged that he was singled out to perform rubber-banding duties -- something he apparently disliked doing. Rivers further alleged that he was subjected to a hostile work environment created by harassment concerning his work speed despite FMLA documentation of neck and shoulder pain. USPS decided to further investigate Rivers claim regarding denial of overtime, but dismissed the rest of his case. On appeal, EEOC affirmed.

FLOYD RIVERS JR v. UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE was a 1998-9 USPS employee EEOC decision which involved an African-American Jehovah's Witness named Floyd Rivers Jr. No details are provided as to why this claim was dismissed by USPS for failure to state a claim. Affirmed by EEOC.

FLOYD RIVERS JR v. UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE was a 1997-9 USPS employee EEOC decision which involved an African-American Jehovah's Witness named Floyd Rivers Jr. Rivers alleged that he was discriminated against when
his supervisor challenged the eight-hour work limitation stipulated by Rivers' neurologist by commenting to Rivers that there were no eight-hour day jobs; when Rivers' supervisor loudly embarrassed him in public when he requested auxiliary assistance; and when at a stand-up talk on target mail, Rivers' supervisor embarrassed him by asking him if he knew the latest information on target mail, when she knew there was no way he could answer correctly. Rivers claimed that the incidents at issue constituted harassment and a hostile work environment. Dismissed by USPS. Affirmed by EEOC.

FLOYD RIVERS JR v. UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE was a 1997-9 USPS employee EEOC decision which involved an African-American Jehovah's Witness named Floyd Rivers Jr. Rivers alleged that he was the subject of religious discrimination, racial discrimination, disability discrimination, age discrimination, and in reprisal for prior EEO activity when on June 14, 1999, a scheduled leave for two days in July was canceled due to an emergency situation requiring additional help to
carry three city routes. The emergency was thereafter resolved, and Rivers was granted the leave time he had requested. However, Rivers obviously continued the claim -- alleging that the “emergency” was really a hoax his supervisor had concocted to try to deny Rivers his scheduled leave. Rivers further alleged that he suffered injury to his peace of mind, and his mental and emotional health. USPS dismissed Rivers' claim for failure to state a claim, and on Rivers' appeal, EEOC affirmed.

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DIVISION OF HUMAN RIGHTS v. GORTON was a 1969 New York state case involving a Jehovah's Witness named Hortensia Stoyan. Stoyan was a librarian employed by the Farmingdale Public Library. She filed a complaint with the New York Commission for Human Rights alleging racial (Puerto Rican) and religious discrimination against Gorton, who was an elected member of the Farmingdale Library Board of Trustees. Stoyan's initial complaint was filed on March 4, 1968. On March 12, Gorton filed written charges with the Board of Trustees against her, which stated: "Mrs. Stoyan falsely accused this Trustee of racial discrimination and lodged a complaint with the N.Y. State Human Rights Commission. ... Furthermore, although no fault of her own and certainly of no consequence when dealing with books, her language background hardly qualifies her to instruct children in a course of 'remedial reading' sponsored by the Farmingdale Library. In addition, and at the risk of being accused of religious prejudice, I must take exception, as I believe the majority of District 22 residents would also, to having a person who is a member of a religious sect that rejects loyalty to the United States, in a position to influence our children." On May 17, 1968, Stoyan amended her original complaint. She reiterated her initial charge that Gorton had attempted to incite, compel, etc., the Farmingdale Library Board of Trustees to discharge her because of her creed and national origin; and she added the charge of "retaliation" because she had filed the initial complaint.

After two hearings, on July 22, 1968, the Commission ruled in Stoyan's favor, and Gorton was ordered to cease and desist from (1) attempting to incite or compel the trustees to discharge Mrs. Stoyan because of her creed, her national origin and her filing of the complaint against him and (2) retaliating or discriminating against her because of her filing of the complaint. Gorton was also directed to withdraw the charges he had filed against her with the trustees of the library, pay her compensatory damages of $100 plus [$500] attorneys' fees, refrain from retaliating or discriminating against anyone who had testified or assisted in any proceeding under the Human Rights Law, etc.

On appeal, the New York appellate court blasted Gorton, but interestingly negated the order for Gorton to pay Stoyan $600. The decision was likely a compromise given the concurring opinion that made the point that Gorton was an elected public official who "had a legitimate interest, and even a duty, to report his feelings regarding Mrs. Stoyan's qualifications or what he considered (rightly or wrongly) her lack of qualifications as a librarian and teacher of remedial reading. Surely, as far as the latter is concerned, her 'language background' is not totally irrelevant. There is no claim that respondent acted in bad faith."

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GEOFFREY A. JONES v. UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE was a 1999-2001 USPS employee EEOC decision which involved an African-American Jehovah's Witness named Geoffrey A. Jones. Geoffrey Jones alleged religious discrimination, racial discrimination, age discrimination, sex discrimination, "national origin" discrimination, and reprisal for prior EEO activity,  for these incidents:
 
1. On March 18, 1998, following an arbitrator's award which restored him to duty from a prior removal action, Jones was ordered to complete a fitness for duty examination, conducted by a criminal psychiatrist;
 
2. On February 15, 1999, Jones was placed on Emergency Off; and
3. On March 12, 1999, Jones was issued a Notice of Removal, which became effective on April 16, 1999.
 
As part of the proceedings, the EEOC Administrative Judge ordered Jones to submit to deposition. Jones REFUSED, so the Judge dismissed Jones' case. On appeal, the EEOC remanded for a decision without the hearing. Outcome unknown.
 
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GEOFFREY A. JONES v. UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE was a 1999-2001 USPS employee EEOC decision which involved an African-American Jehovah's Witness named Geoffrey A. Jones. Geoffrey Jones alleged discrimination via USPS's alleged disparate disciplinary treatment of African-American employees, when on four different occasions, from October 1998 to February 1999, Geoffrey Jones was accused of making THREATS, and was placed on emergency non-pay
suspension
. Jones claimed that on January 27, 1999, a female African-American employee was threatened and called a
“monkey” by a male Hispanic employee, and that USPS management did nothing about it. USPS dismissed this claim, but on Jones' appeal, EEOC remanded this case for further consideration.
 
IF the READER does not "get" what occurred in these two EEOC cases, you should re-read such until you do "get it".
 
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KINNIBURGH, KISER, WAGAR, ET AL v. BURLINGTON NORTHERN RAILROAD COMPANY ET AL was a 1983 federal lawsuit filed in Montana which appears to have involved one or more plaintiffs who were Jehovah's Witnesses and/or one or more plaintiffs who employed a number of Jehovah's Witnesses. Robert J. Wagar was a Jehovah's Witness, and a cousin of Dale D. Kinniburgh. It is not known whether Keith W. Kiser was also a relative or a JW. The various plaintiffs were loggers who had previously done business with Burlington Northern Railroad via routine business contracts over the years. Around 1978-9, trouble developed between the various plaintiffs and defendants, and Burlington Northern Railroad either reduced or stopped doing business with the plaintiffs.

The court record seems to indicate that the plaintiffs were "reaching" to find any reason to sue Burlington Northern Railroad for exercising its right to contract with whomever it wished, since there evidently was no contractual basis for a lawsuit.  Bobby Wager claimed "religious discrimination" in that Burlington Northern Railroad allegedly stopped doing business with him because he was a Jehovah's Witness. Dale Kinniburgh claimed that he had been discriminated against because he employed Jehovah's Witnesses. The USDC dismissed on the merits and with prejudice all of Robert Wagar's and Dale Kinniburgh's claims against  Burlington Northern Railroad.

Thereafter, the plaintiffs filed a legal malpractice lawsuit in state court against their own attorney for their attorney's failure to file a timely appeal of their failed federal lawsuit against Burlington Northern Railroad. That Montana trial court also determined that the plaintiffs' federal lawsuit against Burlington Northern Railroad lacked merit, and therefore found that the plaintiffs' attorney's failure to file a timely appeal did not result in any damages to the plaintiffs. The Montana Supreme Court upheld that second trial court decision.

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ADAM W. BUNTING v. UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE was a 2000-3 USPS employee EEOC decision which involved an African-American Jehovah's Witness named Adam W. Bunting. In November 2000, Adam Bunting filed a formal EEO complaint alleging religious discrimination, racial discrimination, and sex discrimination, when on July 26, 2000, he was denied a light duty assignment. USPS found no discrimination, and on appeal, EEOC refused to consider the appeal due to procedural matters.

ADAM W. BUNTING v. UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE was a 2000-2 USPS employee EEOC decision which involved an African-American Jehovah's Witness named Adam W. Bunting. Adam Bunting filed a formal EEO complaint alleging religious discrimination, racial discrimination, and sex discrimination, when on August 18, 2000, he was denied a light duty assignment. Denied by USPS. Affirmed by EEOC.

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PEREZ v. PAPPAS was a 1983 Washington state court case involving the Jehovah's Witness family of Richard and Charlotte Perez and children. In this lawsuit, the Perez family sued their attorney for return of ALL or part of the contingency fee from a previous employment related lawsuit in which the attorney had negotiated a settlement for the family, which the attorney initially had "net present valued" at $1,000,000.00 (due to a settlement which was a combination of cash, life insurance, and annuities), but which he and the Perez family negotiated down to a NPV of $850,000.00. The Washington Supreme Court ruled that the attorney's repayment of $37,500 and the Perez family's acceptance of that amount before trial constituted an accord and satisfaction.

Interestingly, the court record revealed that this attorney was the third attorney who worked for the Perez family in their employment related lawsuit. The Perez family fired their first attorney after only a few weeks. After two years, the Perez family went looking for a third attorney. Apparently, there were problems between the Perez family and the second attorney over the fact that the attorney was seeking substantial damages for an alleged permanent disability, and Richard Perez in the meantime was performing activities as a full-time Jehovah's Witness "minister".

The Washington Supreme Court actually complimented the settlement which Pappas had negotiated, stating: "The success of the case was questionable as [Perez's] fellow employees had disposed of the Signode ratchet shortly after the accident, the manufacturer of the banding material was unknown, and [Perez] had been misusing the tool by employing a 'cheater' bar to gain extra leverage which may have contributed to or caused the accident. Additionally, Mr. Perez' decision not to seek paid employment posed problems in proving damages. In spite of these facts, and within a matter of months from the time Pappas took the case, Signode's insurers began making settlement offers, ... ."

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GARRICK v. WEAVER ET AL was a 1989 New Mexico federal appellate court decision which, like the case above, involved a contingency dispute between a family of Jehovah's Witnesses and the attorneys who were fired while representing the Jehovah's Witness Family in a civil lawsuit. Roberta Garrick, and her minor son and daughter were injured in an automobile accident in which a fourth passenger was killed. While represented by their third attorney, they settled their claims for $338,755.00.

During the settlement approval proceedings, the first attorney employed by the Garricks presented his claim for 25% per a valid contingency fee agreement. This first attorney had been fired after presenting to the Garricks a settlement offer which Roberta Garrick apparently thought was too little. The Garricks argued that this first attorney should not receive any compensation given that he had failed to adequately explain the "conflict of interest" of his representing both the Garricks and the fourth passenger. The court ruled that although no "actual or substantial prejudice" to Garrick's interests occurred, this first attorney should receive quantum merit rather than the contracted fee. Affirmed on appeal by Garrick.

A second attorney also presented his claim for 33.3% per a series of letters between Roberta Garrick and himself, which the attorney alleged combined to form a valid contingency fee agreement. However, the court ruled that the multiple letters did not constitute a "standardized, unambiguous contingency fee contract". Additionally, Roberta Garrick and this second attorney had also had problems, and he had notified Garrick that he was withdrawing from the case, and indicated that he would "assert only the reasonable value of my services in generating an eventual recovery". However, before the court granted his motion for permission to withdraw, this second attorney signed a settlement offer on behalf of Garrick with her approval. Roberto Garrick thereafter retained a third attorney. The Garricks argued that this second attorney should not receive any compensation. The court ruled that this second attorney should receive quantum merit rather than the contracted fee. Affirmed on appeal by Garrick.

As an interesting sidebar to this summary, Roberta Garrick also challenged the court's decision to place the two children's portion of the settlement in a trust. Garrick claimed that such violated the family's "freedom of religion" on the ridiculous reasoning that the trustee might try to force the children to have a blood transfusion in some hypothetical future scenario.

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In August 2007, controversial professional baseball pitcher Salomon Torres reportedly drop the formal grievance he had filed with Major League Baseball against his employer, the Pittsburgh Pirates. Torres, who is a Jehovah's Witness, as well as a citizen of the Dominican Republic, had alleged that Pirates general manager Dave Littlefield had deceived him while negotiating a two-year, $6,500,000.00 contract extension, which Torres had signed in the spring of 2006. Torres accused Littlefield of leading him to believe the Pirates would rent one of his two baseball academies in the Dominican Republic so that he would take a discount on his contract. The team did not rent the facility and is reportedly considering building a new facility. Torres had asked the Pirates to pay him $1,500,000.00 to make up for such. When the Pirates refused,Torres filed his formal grievance with MLB, and spoke with two Pittsburgh law firms about suing the Pirates.

Commenting on his decision to drop his case against his employer, Torres was quoted as stating:  "It is not up to me, as a Christian, to seek justice on my own. It is up to God to handle the situation, and I will let Him do that for me. ... After a long talk with myself, I've decided this is the right path to take. ... I just need to move on, to have a clear head and heart."  That from the person who is accused of effectively ending Sammy Sosa's career in a 2003 game when he beaned Sosa in the head with a fastball that cracked Sosa's protective helmet!!!

 
In a June 1994 AP news article, which focused on "issues" which Salomon Torres was then experiencing while playing for the San Francisco Giants, that article stated that "Torres was apparently having a difficult time blending his lifestyle as a professional baseball player with his life as a devout member of the Jehovah's Witnesses."  The sports writer failed to elaborate on the specifics on which he based that conclusion. Torres had "beaned" two Colorado Rockies batters that week, including one in the face fracturing the opposing player's cheekbone, plus Torres had failed to travel with the team to a Cincinnati Reds game.

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MILLER v. IAN GRAHAM INSURANCE ET AL and BENARDELLO v. IAN GRAHAM INSURANCE ET AL initially were two separate lawsuits filed by two female Jehovah's Witness Employees against the same insurance agency employer, and its employees. Miller and Benardello each alleged sexual harassment and religious discrimination. After an abundance of pre-trial maneuvers, including the consolidation of the two cases, the case was settled on the eve of trial for a confidential amount.

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GIVENS ET AL v. GENENTECH was a 1997 California federal court case.  In April 1997, two African-American Jehovah's Witnesses, named Ricardo Allen and Francisco Givens, filed a discrimination lawsuit against their longtime employer, Genentech Inc., and several individual supervisors. Ricardo Allen and Francisco Givens, who had been employed at Genentech since 1987, alleged that between 1991 and 1996 that they had both been discriminated against because of their race and religion, resulting in their being forced to take medical stress leaves during which they were only partially compensated. Apparently, Genentech had already remedied the alleged discriminatory conduct prior to the lawsuit given that the JW Duo had returned to work, but the lawsuit was apparently over $$$.

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KENNISON v. DOWNTOWN RESTAURANT was a 2007 Ohio federal USDC opinion which ruled only on the Defendant's motion for summary judgment, which was granted on only one of Plaintiff's claims -- sex discrimination. Outcome on balance of claims is unknown. Nicole Kennison was hired at Defendant's Burger King, in Mentor, Ohio, in 2001. Plaintiff testified that she loved the older male Assistant Manager who hired her "in a romantic way" from "the first day" she met him. And, she "never stopped" feeling that way. In 2004, Kennison became jealous of Manager's alleged sexual harassment of other employees, and eventually was both sometimes receptive and sometimes offended at the same conduct towards her. In March 2005, Kennison and the Manager had sex. There is conflicting evidence whether such was consensual. Kennison quit the following day. Kennison was also hospitalized not long thereafter, and there is conflicting evidence as to which hospital, and for what reason.

Later, in 2005, Kennison filed a charge of discrimination with the OCRC and EEOC alleging that she was sexually harassed during her employment. Later, Plaintiff filed this federal lawsuit setting forth eleven claims. Counts One through Three alleged sexual harassment and hostile work environment in violation of state and federal law. Count Four alleged constructive discharge on the basis of sex. Count Five alleged sex discrimination in violation of state law. Count Six alleged intentional infliction of emotional distress. Count Seven alleged negligent hiring and supervision of employees and supervisors. Count Eight alleged respondeat superior. Counts Nine and Ten sought punitive and other damages. Count Eleven was asserted on behalf of James Kennison, Nicole's father, for loss of consortium, but this count was eventually dismissed. The USDC stated, in part:

Construing the evidence in a light most favorable to plaintiff, the Court finds that plaintiff's testimony shows an abusive working environment perpetrated by her supervisor. Nevertheless, defendants point out that plaintiff admitted that she loved Dille, wanted a romantic connection with him and considered him her best friend. And, while plaintiff testified that when Dille inappropriately touched other female employees she found it offensive and made her feel unsafe, she also testified that she was sometimes jealous of his contact with other women. Plaintiff, however, additionally testified that while she did not always mind if Dille touched her and was not always made to feel uncomfortable when he touched her, at other times she was offended by his conduct and tried to get away from him. Finally, plaintiff testified that she did not want to have sex with Dille in his car, she told him "no" and tried to get him off of her.

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LARRY LYNN HEATER v. MONONGAHELA POWER was a 1998-9 West Virginia state court decision, which involved a Jehovah's Witness named Larry L. Heater. Larry Heater sued his employer alleging that he had been discriminated against due to his WatchTower religion. The trial court granted the employer a summary dismissal. The West Virginia Supreme Court declined to hear Heater's appeal.

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ISABEL LOPEZ v. DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE was a 2004-2011 federal agency appellate decision which involved a Hispanic female Jehovah's Witness named Isabel Lopez, who worked as an Export Assistance Specialist at the DOC’s U.S. Export Assistance Center in Houston, Texas. After years of not getting along with her co-workers and supervisors, Lopez filed an EEO complaint alleging that the agency subjected her to a hostile work environment on the bases of her Hispanic race, female sex, Jehovah's Witness religion, disability, age (59), and in reprisal for prior protected EEO activity.

Despite a plethora of claims ranging over many years, in May 2009, the EEOC Administrative Law Judge ruled against Lopez on all counts without even holding a hearing. That decison was upheld on appeal in 2011. Here are merely "some" of the incidents of which Isabel Lopez complained:

In April 2004, a male co-worker, with whom Lopez had had a series of work-related disputes, allegedly cursed Lopez, and then allegedly made a choking motion with his hands. Lopez told that co-worker that she was going to report his threatening behavior to the police. In December 2004, Lopez was placed on two and one half days of administrative leave after she informed a supervisor that her brother had made a complaint to the Federal Bureau of Investigation regarding the alleged actions of that co-worker.

In September 2004, Lopez's supervisor announced at the beginning of a staff meeting that it was going to be a "Come to Jesus meeting", but then apologized to Lopez. Lopez found both the statement and the "taunting" apology offensive. At a later staff meeting, Lopez's supervisor wrote the word "Californication" on the chalkboard in the meeting room, which Lopez also found offensive. In another meeting, Lopez was offended when her Supervisor stated that a co-worker would be his "Highlights Nazi", to which the co-worker jokingly replied with a "Nazi salute".

In December 2004, Lopez was issued a Letter of Reprimand for deleting certain data from certain files.

In May 2005, Supervisor posted an excerpt from a poem on his office door which Lopez found offensive.

Lopez alleged that Supervisor "yelled" at her in front of co-workers, while she sat at her desk, for expensing a 3-block taxi fare while she attended a conference in New Orleans. Supervisor alleged that it was Lopez who became agitated and abusive when questioned about the expense account item, and that he walked away from Lopez rather than allow the scene to escalate.

Lopez alleged that she was forced to retire by reason of disability in December 2005. The agency investigation revealed that Lopez never applied for retirement due to disability, but rather accepted a voluntary "buy-out".

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EARL T. THOMPSON v. BEST CHOICE SOLUTIONS ET AL was a 2007-08 British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal case. A Jehovah's Witness Employee named Earl Thompson filed a complaint alleging religious discrimination, race discrimination, and color discrimination against this Vancouver, B.C. construction company. Outcome unknown.

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In 1950, a Jehovah's Witness named John E. Turner was FIRED from his construction job with G.V. KITE while working at a Winston-Salem, North Carolina Baptist Church. John Turner told reporters that he was fired for disputing Baptist doctrines with Baptist co-workers. Kite related that Turner had been fired after it was learned that Turner had somehow gotten his hands on a list of the church's recent converts, and that Turner was calling at those persons' homes attempting to re-convert them to Turner's own WatchTower religion. (Interestingly, in 1950, it was against WatchTower Society dictates for a Jehovah's Witness to perform work on a "church" building -- which may explain why nothing further can be located about this case.)

 
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MASON v. BIO-RAD LABORATORIES was a 2002 California state court lawsuit involving a African-American Jehovah's Witness named Cynthia Mason. Mason worked for Bio-Rad from 1984 to 1998. In April 1998, Mason contacted Bio-Rad's Human Resource Director and told him that she was upset because she was overworked and had problems with her supervisor. Mason was given three options: (1) work things out with her supervisor; (2) apply for a new job within Bio-Rad; or (3) look for work outside of Bio-Rad. Mason responded that she would resign. Bio-Rad allowed Mason continued to receive her full salary and benefits through August 3, 1998. In March 1999, Mason filed a charge of discrimination with California's Department of Fair Employment and Housing and with EEOC. In February 2000, Mason filed a lawsuit which included four causes of action alleging employment discrimination, plus defamation. The first cause of action asserted a claim for employment discrimination on the basis of religion. In this cause of action, Mason, a member of Jehovah's Witnesses, alleged that her supervisor discriminated against those who did not participate in "The Forum," an organization she characterized as a cult. In particular, Mason alleged that in January 1998, her supervisor replaced her as the leader of an administrative team, selecting as her replacement a 25-year old, white woman who was a member of "The Forum." Mason attended a single meeting of "The Forum" in March 1998, but refused to join. According to Mason, her supervisor thereafter increased her workload and harassed her. Mason explained that in April 1998, she complained and was given three options: work out her difficulties with Marshall, transfer to another position or resign. Mason alleged that the first option was unrealistic, the second option could not work because her supervisor had made negative comments about her in her performance appraisal and so she chose the third option. Mason's second and third causes of action asserted claims for discrimination on the basis of race and age. In these causes of action, Mason, who is Black and over 40 years old, relied principally on the fact that she was replaced as the administrative team leader by a white employee, in her mid-twenties, with far less experience. Mason's fourth cause of action alleged employment discrimination on the basis of sex. This claim was based on all of the prior allegations. A fifth cause of action alleged defamation. The trial court granted summary judgment for Bio-Rad. Mason then appealed on the employment discrimination claims. The appellate court affirmed the dismissal.

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PARMLEE v. CONNECTICUT DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE SERVICES was a 2001 Connecticut appellate court decision. This court case was only the latest in a decade-long series of complaints and lawsuits involving a Jehovah's Witness named Richard T. Parmlee, Sr., and his employer. Parmlee began working at DRS in February 1987. In th early 1990s, Parmlee filed a federal lawsuit claiming color, race, religion and sex discrimination and retaliation in his failure to be promoted within DRS. That suit was ultimately resolved by settlement agreement in August 1994. Parmlee continued working at DRS.
 
In 1997, DRS attempted to transfer Parmlee, with other employees, to a different unit within the agency. Parmlee refused to move and claimed that the proposed transfer violated the terms of his settlement agreement. Parmlee was discharged by DRS on September 16, 1997, for insubordination and offensive and abusive conduct toward his coworkers. Parmlee filed a discrimination complaint with the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities in December 1997. Parmlee alleged DRS discriminated against him on the basis of his WatchTower religion, and his Native American ancestry, and in retaliation for his opposition to DRS' discriminatory practices. The CHRO dismissed Parmlee's complaint in March 1998. The CHRO rejected Parmlee's request for reconsideration of his complaint in June 1998. The EEOC closed Parmlee's file because it adopted the findings of the CHRO, and gave Parmlee a right to sue letter in July 6, 1998. The matter went to arbitration and in September 1998, the arbitrator ruled that Parmlee was to be reinstated, but without backpay. Before Parmlee could be reinstated on October 29, Parmlee commenced another lawsuit on October 13, 1998, seeking money damages, injunctive relief, back pay, and reinstatement to employment with DRS. It was dismissed without prejudice based on Parmlee's 10/29 reinstatement.
 
DRS terminated Parmlee a second time for insubordination in May 1999. Parmlee filed two amended complaints on August 25, 1999, and an amendment to the amended complaints on December 22, 1999. Defendants filed motions to dismiss both amended complaints and the amendment to the amended complaint. Parmlee thereafter filed a motion for summary judgment on December 22, 1999. The various Defendants filed their opposition to summary judgment. All defendants except for DRS, Bruce Chamberlain (Chief of Personnel), Assistant Attorneys General Jonathan Ensign and Paul Scrimonelli, and plaintiff's former counsel Anthony Ball were voluntarily dismissed. In its ruling on the defendants' Motion to Dismiss, USDC dismissed all of the remaining defendants other than DRS. Parmlee's claims alleging sex discrimination, age discrimination, and claims of a hostile work environment based on his race and religion were also dismissed. Parmlee's claims of race and religion discrimination based on disparate treatment and his retaliation claim remained viable after the court's ruling. Prior to the court's ruling on the motion to dismiss, Parmlee filed an additional claim with the CHRO and EEOC claiming that he was "a victim of unlawful employment discrimination because of [his] sex (male), race (Cherokee), color (black), religion (Jehovah's Witness), national origin (Native American) and age (47)."
 
The EEOC closed Parmlee's file because after its investigation it was unable to conclude that the allegations established violations of the applicable statutes and gave Parmlee a right to sue letter on July 27, 2000. Parmlee commenced the second action on October 27, 2000. In his complaint Parmlee again sought money damages, injunctive relief, back pay, and reinstatement to his former position with DRS. Parmlee claimed that defendants discriminated against him on the basis of his race, religion, national origin, gender, age, and color. Parmlee alleged that defendants discriminated against him by, among other claims, terminating his employment, failing to promote him, and retaliating against him for exposing DRS's unlawful practices. The new complaint was incorporated into the instant action. In August 2001, the USDC granted CDRS's motion for summary judgment, stating in part:
"... the court accepts as true defendants’ assertion that Parmlee was fired and did not receive promotions from his clerk position because of his work history with DRS. Defendants provided evidence that this work history included a pattern of insubordination, abusive and offensive behavior, misuse of state equipment, tardiness, and an inability to complete work in a timely manner. ... DRS also submitted evidence that these problems were repeatedly brought to Parmlee’s attention in memoranda, letters, and meetings between DRS managers and plaintiff. ... Parmlee does not appear to dispute that he received notice from DRS managers that there were problems with his work performance and does not provide any evidence that the claims made by DRS are inaccurate. ...
 
"Parmlee also argues that DRS failed to promote him from the position of clerk, and that DRS discriminated against him by requiring Parmlee to pass an examination before the promotion. Defendants respond by arguing that the settlement agreement specifically stated that, if Parmlee passed the Assistant Accountant Exam, then he would be promoted regardless of his score on the exam. ... Because Parmlee failed to pass the exam, defendants argue that they could not promote him under the terms of the agreement. Parmlee does not dispute that he was given opportunities to take the exam and that he has not passed the exam. ... ... ...
 
"The affidavits and exhibits attached to defendant’s statement of facts detail Parmlee’s employment history as one in which there were several conflicts between plaintiff and other employees, as well as extensive documentation by management of Parmlee’s tardiness, refusal to follow agency rules, and insubordination. As with Parmlee’s other discrimination claims, Parmlee has not provided any evidence to refute defendants’ portrayal of his employment history with DRS. ... ."

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In 1997, a Toledo, Ohio, city government supervisor was terminated for insubordination, falsification of records, and other unspecified work performance issues. The employee, who was a Jehovah's Witness, filed a complaint with EEOC alleging "religious discrimination", in that his termination was allegedly motivated by issues relating to his beliefs and practices as a Jehovah's Witness.  Outcome unknown.

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In 1990, the EEOC ruled that an African-American Jehovah's Witness female had been terminated in 1986 from her position as a legal secretary, with a New Haven, Connecticut law firm, due to racial discrimination. The sketchy details seem to indicate that religious discrimination had also been alleged, but was not proven.

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FLORIDA v. BRADLEY was a 1996-? Florida capital murder criminal case which involved a "Jehovah's Witness Hitman" named Donald Lee Bradley. Donald Bradley and two of his landscaping employees murdered-for-hire the husband of the woman who Bradley employed to do the bookkeeping for Bradley's landscaping business.  Bradley's bookkeeper solicited her husband's murder because her husband was having an affair, and she wanted him murdered before he divorced her, so that she would receive his $500,000.00 in life insurance benefits. The husband was killed in 1995 during an exceptionally brutal faked home invasion robbery. Bradley's two employees, who thought they were there merely to help beat up the husband, helped get the husband down and bound. However, Bradley then beat the husband to death, despite the husband begging for his life the whole time.  Bradley also attempted to shoot the husband, but the .45 pistol he had brought along was broken. Bradley was convicted of first-degree murder, etc., etc., and received the death penalty (not yet carried out). The bookkeeper was convicted of solicitation, conspiracy, and first-degree murder, and was given a life sentence. Bradley's two employees testified against Bradley and the bookkeeper, pled guilty to third-degree murder, and received 126 months in prison. Results of appeals unknown.
 
During the penalty phase of Bradley's trial, 13 family and non-family members testified for leniency for Bradley. These included one of Bradley's sisters, who possibly was also a Jehovah's Witness based on hints in the trial record. A Jehovah's Witness Elder, named Harvey Sowers, testified that Bradley was serious and sincere about his Jehovah's Witness faith.  He related how the five Bradley family members regularly attended the five meetings at his Kingdom Hall for five years. Sowers related that Bradley had made many friends among the other members of the congregation, and told how Bradley had once helped a member for a day and a half to install a septic system. Sowers also stated that Bradley would occasionally maintain the lawn at the Kingdom Hall (JWs typically take turns as volunteers). Bradley also donated labor and materials to help with the landscaping when the WatchTower Society constructed its' large Assembly Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses in Daytona.
 
One interesting footnote that occurred in this scenario was the fact that during Bradley's very first interview with the police in January 1996, at his home, was that Bradley demanded that he be allowed to tape-record the interview as a condition of his consenting to such.

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In 1999, Mark Orrin Barton was a Jehovah's Witness who murdered his wife and two young children before going to two stock brokerage offices, Momentum Securities and All-Tech Investment Group, where he opened fire, killing 9 people and wounding 12. Mark O. Barton later shot himself to death after a five-hour manhunt when police stopped his van at a gas station. Mark Barton left a suicide note, which explained: " ... I have come to hate this life and this system of things. I have come to have no hope. ... I know that Jehovah will take care of all of them in the next life. ... Please know that I love Leigh Ann, Matthew and Mychelle with all of my heart. If Jehovah is willing, I would like to see all of them again in the resurrection, to have a second chance. ... ."

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CALIFORNIA v. SEAN VENYETTE VINES is a still ongoing 1994-2011 California DEATH PENALTY first degree MURDER case. In September 1994, an African-American male named Sean Vines, then age 20, who was employed at another nearby McDonalds restaurant which Sean had himself robbed only 11 days previous, this time along with an accomplice, held up another Sacramento area McDonalds restaurant where Sean Vines had been employed only a few months previous. When a Manager named Ronald Lee recognized Vines, Vines shot Lee in the back of the head execution-style.

Sean Vines was reared by poor African-American parents and great-grandparents who lived in poor inner-city neighborhoods within multiple different California cities. Conversion to the Jehovah's Witnesses turned around the life of Sean Vine's mother, Evette Pearson, after she was divorced from Sean's father. Sean Vine's mother thrived as a Jehovah's Witness. However, while her conversion to and "immersion" into the WatchTower Cult turned her own terrible life around, her conversion was the point at which Sean's life became even worse -- never to rebound. In spite of his poor home environment and the terrible neighborhoods and schools, Sean Vines appeared to be one of the few male students in Watts who would not only graduate from high school, but do so earning decent grades. Described as mild-mannered and studious, music was Sean Vine's passion. Sean Vines played trombone and marched in his high school's marching band. That was, until his Jehovah's Witness Mother, Evette Pearson, took away from Sean the one thing that kept him distracted from all the evil that surrounded him. Sean Vine's Jehovah's Witness Mother forced him to quit the band and all other school activities that were interfering with the family's studying for and attending the five weekly meetings at their local Kingdom Hall. Sean Vines moved out when he was 16 years-old. By age 20, this kid who once had a chance in life was capable of cold-bloodedly executing a person that he knew.

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ILLINOIS v. HALL was a 1983-2000 Illinois criminal court case. Anthony Hall was a convert to the Jehovah's Witnesses, although it is possible that the grandmother who reared Hall was a JW. Hall, who was an African-American in his early 20s, converted while serving prison time at Pontiac Correctional Center on multiple rape and armed robbery charges. Hall regularly attended WatchTower services at the prison, which were conducted by a JW Elder named Lloyd Shaddle. Hall also was married soon after becoming a JW, and given that JWs are strongly encouraged to marry only JWs, it probably can be assumed that he also married a JW. Hall also had multiple penpals with whom he discussed religion, including two from England, and these also probably were JWs. Anthony Hall was granted the privilege of working in the prison's kitchen. However, in February 1983, the dead body of the female civilian Kitchen Supervisor was found hidden in a storage room. The Supervisor, who most prisoners called "Mom", had been stabbed to death. Although it is not known if she was also raped, such was Hall's modus operandi. Hall was only charged, convicted, and sentenced to death for the murder of "Mom". JW Elder Lloyd Shaddle testified on Hall's behalf during the first of two sentencing hearings. Shaddle's testimony about how good a Jehovah's Witness was Hall actually was seen as a "negative" by the first judge given that Hall committed the murder after becoming a exemplary Jehovah's Witness prisoner.

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STATE v. JEFFERY was a 1984 Florida murder trial in which a "devout" Jehovah's Witness named Larry Jeffery came to his estranged wife's place of employment and stabbed her 16 times. One or more of her co-workers were also stabbed as they attempted to intervene. Jeffery was supposedly a paranoid schizophrenic. His attorneys pled insanity, but the jury convicted him of first-degree murder.

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According to this 2006 New York Press article, an African-American Jehovah's Witness in Brooklyn, named MARY LEE WARD has filed in the past nine years at least 13 civil suits and 4 criminal complaints against contractors, trucking companies, and landowners, including five of her own lawyers.

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VIRGO v. RIVIERA BEACH ASSOCIATES was a 1987-94 Florida federal court case involving Amy Virgo, whose status as a Jehovah's Witness at that time is unclear (known that she was reared as a JW). In 1994, in one of Florida's biggest sexual harassment cases, a U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a USDC ruling that awarded $1,100,000.00 to Virgo, a former general manager of the Sheraton Ocean Inn in Riviera Beach.

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On or about September 2005, a Jehovah's Witness female in Wyoming lost a U.S. District Court jury trial in which she had alleged religious discrimination by her employer.

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EEOC v DODL DEVELOPMENT was an Illinois federal lawsuit filed by a Jehovah's Witness in 1992 claiming religious discrimination. Settled for $9500 in back pay.

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WALLACE v. METRO was a 2001 Washington D.C. federal court case involving an African-American Jehovah's Witness named Betty J. Wallace. Wallace was an administrator with Washington D.C. METRO Transit. Wallace filed a racial and religious discrimination lawsuit alleging that her supervisor "passed her over for promotion and forced her out her job because he wanted to hire a 'blue-eyed blond.'" A USDC jury decided against Wallace.

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BOUSE v. CAPITAL CITIES ET AL.  In 1993, a Jehovah's Witness named Clarence Bouse, of Harrisonville, Missouri, filed a federal lawsuit alleging religious discrimination against Capital Cities ABC Inc. and its' newspaper subsidiary, The Kansas City Star, which had fired Bouse in June 1992 from his job as a pressman. No further details. (Did Bouse receive his "pressman" training at the WatchTower Society's world headquarters, as have a multitude of former Bethelites who have gone to work for newspapers after leaving "Bethel"???)

Although it is not known whether the person is the same JW, or even a relative, in January 2002, "a" 38 year-old "Clarence K. Bouse", of nearby Sedalia, Missouri, was convicted on three counts of attempted sexual misconduct involving a child for emailing photos of his genitals to the Livingston County Sheriff, who was posing in an internet sting as a 13 year-old girl. Bouse was not convicted on several more serious charges that related to his having set two meetups for sex with the "teen", since he failed to show both times.

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