Employers are not allowed to discriminate against any employee for race, sex or religion. Non-discrimination has become such a mainstay in American culture that business owners are also not allowed to discriminate on the grounds of race, sex, religion or sexual orientation.
This has led to a growing number of lawsuits involving Christian business owners who have refused to use their Christian run business to support sinful lifestyles, mainly homosexuality. In fact, anti-discrimination laws have been carried to such extremes that in some places it’s against the law for any Christian to live out their faith or even talk about biblical principles in public.
However, the tables of religious discrimination are being turned against the Georgia Department of Public Health.
Dr. Eric Walsh had applied for the director’s position with the Department of Public Health. He went through multiple interviews. Everything went so well that Walsh was hired to be the new director.
Then someone discovered that Walsh was an outspoken Christian who posted sermons online. This did not set well with some state officials who then decided to fire Walsh before he officially started his new job. It was obvious that the decision to fire him was due to his religious activities so Walsh filed a complaint with the Equal Economic Opportunity Commission.
Georgia state officials have responded to the complaint by saying that Walsh was never officially hired when the job offer was withdrawn. But attorney’s representing Walsh, which includes the Liberty Institute, say they have sufficient evidence to the contrary. After Walsh had accepted the job, Georgia officials publicly announced that he had been hired as the new director.
Attorneys have obtained over 100 pages of glowing reviews of Walsh made by state officials. The reviews fully endorsed his hiring and contained nothing to the contrary. However, one of Walsh’s attorneys stated:
“Numerous internal email conversations between DPH officials make it clear that it was Dr. Walsh’s sermons that concerned DPH. In fact, DPH decision-makers engaged in multiple, and lengthy, email conversations regarding Walsh’s sermons, but hardly any concerning the reason DPH now offers for his termination. The evidence is overwhelming.”
One of those conversations came from Lee Rudd, the Human Resources Director for DPH. The day before Walsh was terminated, Rudd wrote his colleagues:
“OK … I have an assignment for several of us. We have to listen to his sermons on You Tube (sic) tonight. If we take a couple of hours each, then we should cover our bases. I will enlist Dwana (Prince) to help us. Kate (Pfirman, DPH chief financial officer) is going to listen to them as well.”
Walsh’s attorneys stated:
“Rudd informs his colleagues and subordinates that listening to Dr. Walsh’s sermons is a mandatory ‘assignment.’ Such an assignment is so massive an undertaking that it would require the assistance of others and, even then, would take ‘a couple of hours each’ to get through them.”
“At the very least, the inescapable conclusion is that DPH senior officials considered Dr. Walsh’s religion and expressions of that religion in making its employment decisions. That is, likewise, an illegal practice by a prospective employer.”
“No one should be fired for simply expressing his religious beliefs. In America, it is against the law to fire an employee for expressing his religious beliefs – especially when that expression takes place at church. This kind of religious intolerance by an employer has no place in today’s workforce.”
According to Walsh’s attorneys, the very fact that they asked for copies of his sermons and made it mandatory to review just one day prior to being terminated is a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which is the heart of the EEOC.
This is a clear cut case of Dr. Eric Walsh being fired from a job that he was about to start purely due to his religious beliefs and activities. The evidence is overwhelming and hopefully the EEOC will concur with the evidence and rule in favor of Dr. Walsh.