When a Buddhist man refused to print verses from the Bible in a wireless service company’s daily newsletter, the company fired him.
Now, Jef Mindrup is suing Goodman Networks, where he had worked for eight years, on the grounds that he was asked to violate his “sincerely held religious beliefs” by printing the verses, and was then fired for refusing to do so.
Mindrup was the director of marketing communications. Part of the Texas man’s responsibilities was to write up a daily company newsletter called the “The Morning Coffee.”
He had been executing this task for six years when, in March of 2012, the company’s cofounder, Jody Goodman, asked him to start printing Bible verses in the newsletter. Mindrup was told to begin the change with the following morning’s newsletter.
In his emailed response to Jody the next day, Mindrup informing her that he would be “unable to add quotes or scriptures from the Bible as you’ve requested. I have always taken great care to avoid any quotes that would offend others as well as my own personal religious beliefs.”
Goodman’s initial reaction was to state, “I respect your beliefs.”
However, the lawsuit alleges that on very next day, in an after-hours telephone call, Mindrup “was fired by defendant for his refusal to include the Bible verses in The Morning Coffee. He was fired without any warning or progressive discipline.”
Mindrup took the issue to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The company told the board that the termination of Mindrup’s employment was part of a “pre-planned and well-thought out reduction in force.”
Mindrup’s lawsuit maintains that this explanation was merely the company’s attempt to cover up the illegal discrimination “on the basis of his religion” to which he was subjected.
He is suing Goodman Networks for lost wages, damages for Title VII discrimination and punitive damages for pain and suffering.
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