Being fired for my beliefs
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14-09-2012, 09:27 AM
Being fired for my beliefs
Or actually I suppose I should say my lack thereof. I'm not sure if this is the correct category to put this, so if it needs to move, please do so moderator(s). Smile

So, here's my story --

I've worked in a particular field for almost 13 years, with the last 2.75 years being with a company that purchased the previous company I was working for. I was in upper management - the General Manager of this particular subsidiary, as a matter of fact.

Most people that I've worked with for years know my stance on religion, etc. but I've never been one to push it in their faces that they were wasting their time believing in fairy tales. A very good friend of mine, I'd say my best friend - he and I would have spirited debates about the topics. He's a believer, even though he'll tell you he's the worst kind. He knows and believes but doesn't live the way he should, etc.

As I've stated in my introduction post, I'm from South Georgia.

So, one day back in July, I walked into my office and was summoned to the main office. I didn't think anything of it because I routinely would need to go across town to the main office for this and that. So, when I get there, the VP of the company, who is very religious (I say this because he keeps an open bible on his desk at all times), was composing an email and asked me to give him a few minutes.

A few minutes went by and then he lowered the boom on me. The owner of the company had instructed him to terminate me effective immediately. Of course I was shocked! I had never had any disciplinary action with this company or even the company that owned the business before! I asked why.

He did look very sad, but he said the only thing he was instructed to say to me from the owner of the company was "you know what you did". And that was it. Dumbfounded doesn't even begin to describe how I felt.

Without rhyme or reason, I was tossed out. Even the official termination letter simply stated "terminated due to cause". Which, I understand this being the great state of Georgia, a company doesn't need a reason to terminate someone.

I've been banging my head back and forth trying to figure out what the hell happened. And then earlier this week, my good friend that still works there, let me know that there was a rumor - now mind you it's a rumor - but the rumor indicated that my connection to a website that I run (http://www.thesouthernatheist.com) might have been the reason for my dismissal. The funny thing is, I don't do that much with the site. I re-post some of Seth's videos there and other stuff, but it's mostly dormant.

I do run a podcast network of shows, none of them really related to anything religious in nature, but I don't make any bones about what I do and don't believe in my shows.

So, without any real proof, I've been bouncing the idea around of filing a charge with the EEOC for religious bias or whatever against my former employer. I don't want the job back, but I want these folks to know that you can't just arbitrarily (or at least you shouldn't be able to) get rid of someone because they don't believe the same way you do. The owners of the company are all about appearances.

What do you guys think? Is it even something worth pursuing?
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14-09-2012, 09:34 AM
RE: Being fired for my beliefs
Georgia is an at will state. Basically, you can be fired over anything... just not race, religion, etc. HOWEVER, if you are fired for those reason, the company can just say it was for something else. It's a he said/she said thing, and the company will always win.

So no... it's not worth pursuing because of the at-will regulations. You really don't have a leg to stand on because they can say anything ie they didn't like your performance and that can be sufficient for termination.

It sucks : /

But I live in Louisiana, so I'm familiar with it.

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14-09-2012, 09:37 AM
RE: Being fired for my beliefs
(14-09-2012 09:34 AM)kingschosen Wrote:  Georgia is an at will state. Basically, you can be fired over anything... just not race, religion, etc. HOWEVER, if you are fired for those reason, the company can just say it was for something else. It's a he said/she said thing, and the company will always win.

So no... it's not worth pursuing because of the at-will regulations. You really don't have a leg to stand on because they can say anything ie they didn't like your performance and that can be sufficient for termination.

It sucks : /

But I live in Louisiana, so I'm familiar with it.

Yeah, that's what I figured. I was still curious, even if I couldn't win, if it would bring it out publicly and at least make it known. But then again, there could be a backlash over that. *sigh* This sucks.
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14-09-2012, 09:38 AM
RE: Being fired for my beliefs
I don't know how the laws work but your angle seems like a difficult one to prove. I wouldn't be surprised if they have a backup "reason" to point to should you pursue legal action.

Assuming that you were indeed fired for religious beliefs and nothing else, you could make the incident very public via social networking sites and other mediums. Be warned that might backfire on you should you try to find a job at another religious company.

Sorry for the loss of your job. That really sucks.

If Jesus died for our sins, why is there still sin? If man was created from dust, why is there still dust? If Americans came from Europe, why are there still Europeans?
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14-09-2012, 09:55 AM
RE: Being fired for my beliefs
I'd go see an employment lawyer, and talk for an hour. It won't cost that much, if anything.
Do they have an employee manual, and if so did they follow their own rules ? If not, you can sue them for unlawful termination. If they have a process for discipline, or "improvement", and never told you you did anything wrong, and never said anything about your performance, and DIDN'T follow the process, you may also have a case.
They have to follow their own rules. Not sure how it works, but the Federal non-discrimination policies from the Labor Dept may trump the state ? Do they have any Federal contracts, or State contracts ? They may have signed things if they do, to not discriminate. I wouldn't give up, until I heard it from a Georgia employment attorney. AT the very least, the attorney could write a nasty letter, telling them not to oppose your unemployment benefits, or you would pursue the matter in court.

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Those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music - Friedrich Nietzsche
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14-09-2012, 10:06 AM
RE: Being fired for my beliefs
Ravnwolf

I would contact a lawyer. They told you that you fired for cause but they provided no cause to you. From what you described, they have no record of disciplinary actions, no record of you being reprimanded or warned, etc. Being an "at will" employee does not mean you can be fired for discriminatory reasons.

Call a lawyer. You may have a case and they may settle with you to avoid having to be dragged into court for being intolerant bigots.

Shackle their minds when they're bent on the cross
When ignorance reigns, life is lost
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14-09-2012, 10:13 AM
RE: Being fired for my beliefs
Thank you for all the suggestions. They didn't fight the unemployment, but they pretty much ruined my life. That's the part I want them to pay for so they'll understand that they can't just do what they want and not have consequences. They do have a handbook. Unfortunately, they required it back before they would give me my last check, so I can't verify their process. I do recall there being a process, I just can't remember how detailed it was in regards to disciplinary action, improvement, etc.

Trying to find a lawyer is my problem. I put in a call for one in the Atlanta area several weeks back, but he never called me back. I certainly don't want to use anyone around here. I'm pretty confident they would be biased.

I've specifically made an effort not to mention their name in any social networking arenas because this is somewhat of a small town (15k city, 35k county-wide). My gut wants to come out swinging and tear them down, but I'm pretty confident that would only serve to destroy what little dignity I have left.

Thanks again for all of your suggestions.
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14-09-2012, 10:13 AM
RE: Being fired for my beliefs
This does indeed suck!

I have no real advice but you have my sympathy.

I think that if this had happened to me (and who knows, they way I'm going, it might) I would probably just say "shit happens" and move on.

But I think I might check out whether it had happened to other people and see if there was some group action on-going or worth starting. Going it alone would not accomplish much but a mini-movement might get noticed and bring about a positive change in years to come.

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14-09-2012, 10:19 AM
RE: Being fired for my beliefs
Looks from here like your options are either take it on the chin, or make it worse. Sorry, dude. Hug

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14-09-2012, 10:21 AM
RE: Being fired for my beliefs
(14-09-2012 10:19 AM)houseofcantor Wrote:  Looks from here like your options are either take it on the chin, or make it worse. Sorry, dude. Hug

Yeah, that was the feeling I was getting. Smile

Thanks.
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