Man Claims He Was Denied a Job Because He’s Not Christian Enough
Voss Lighting Company, of Lincoln, Nebraska, is not shy about its religious beliefs. Its biblical mission is to “‘sell’ our lighting products so that we may ‘tell’ everyone about God’s soul-saving, life transforming Gospel message.” But did the company cross a line when refused to hire a man who was not able to go to church on Sunday?
Patrick Holman, attorney with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, says Voss Lighting Company’s biblical mission statement is perfectly legal. What’s not legal is basing hiring decisions on religious beliefs.
Oklahoman Edward Wolfe says he was denied a position at Voss because he wasn’t Christian enough. He’s being represented by Holman and the EEOC. Wolfe applied for the Operations Supervisor position at Voss’s Tulsa, Oklahoma, store.
Wolfe saw the position advertised on a church website. He says the first interview went well but in the second interview, he was asked about his religious beliefs and practices. He was asked to name every church he had attended over the last several years, as well as the circumstances that led up to his being saved and when he was born again.
During the interview, Wolfe says he was told that employees could go to any church, as long as they were “born again.”
Wolfe, a single parent, told the branch manager during his second interview that he wasn’t able to attend church on Sundays, and the branch manager became “agitated.”
Wolfe did not get the job. Wolfe’s lawsuit is filed under Title VII, which makes it illegal to discriminate against a potential employee on the basis of religion.
Voss denies that Wolfe did not get the job based on his religious beliefs. Steve Sanderson, vice president and general manager of Voss, writes, “The individual hired by Voss had more lighting product experience and was more qualified.”
What do you think? Did the fact that Wolfe is unable to attend church on Sundays cost him the job?