VOSS lighting is a privately held company in a Right to Work state.
They can hire or fire for any reason they choose without warning or notice. Sorry folks. That's just the way it is.
A "right to work" state is one in which an employee cannot be forced to join a union in order to secure or maintain employment. It has nothing to do with religious discrimination or the ability to hire/fire.
Some states provide for "at-will" employment, which means that unless there is an express (written) contract between an employee and employer that specifies the length or conditions of employment, the employer can fire an employee for any reason the employer wishes as long as the employer is not violating existing federal or state laws, or the employer is not violating its own internal hiring/firing practices (inconsistent
).Religious belief, or lack thereof, is a protected class with the EEOC and Voss Lighting cannot violate EEOC regulations
Cracker Barrel fired an employee once because they kept coming to work with funky colored hair. The girl sued Cracker Barrel for sexual discrimination because she was lesbian.
There are women who are not lesbians who have funky colored hair. One of them, Urs, used to visit this forum frequently; however, Urs is not a lesbian. If Cracker Barrel specifies that all employees must show up for work with their natural hair color or a range of acceptable hair colors, they can do so, but it has nothing to do with sexual orientation.
Cracker Barrel not only stood their ground, they publicly announced that they would no longer hire any homosexuals...period.
Unfortunately, under current law as long as Cracker Barrel is consistent in that regard, they are free to discriminate in that fashion.
There were several discrimination suits brought against Cracker Barrel and to the best of my knowledge...nothing ever came from them.
The reason? They are a privately owned company. If they were a public company or a governmental agency then things are different.
Private companies can get and do get successfully sued for discrimination, but most private companies wisely negotiate a settlement for cases with merit before the cases make it to the courtroom. Or, as often occurs nowadays, the dispute is settled through arbitration and the cases are never heard or known publicly. Just because a company is a private organization doesn't mean that private companies are immunized from successful discrimination lawsuits. The successful cases are ones that are for protected EEOC classes or ones in which the employees can demonstrate inconsistent internal practices according to the company's own procedures.
I am sure I am missing some nuances here but the gist is that any private company has the right to hire whomever they see fit. Or, not hire for any reason they choose. EEOC has no jurisdiction over mom and pop, no matter how many stores they operate.
That is incorrect. The EEOC requires employers to post an EEOC notice for employees
, such as this one
, but not all employers, especially mom-and-pop operations, realize that they are not in compliance with that requirement. EEOC compliance for protected classes is required by all employers -- even my "mom and pop" operation must abide by EEOC regulations. Whether I conduct interviews now for my small business or when I conducted interviews while I worked for a large, private corporation, EEOC regulations were/are ever-present, preventing us from asking certain questions, such as age, religion, disability, etc. Can I, as a small employer, ask about your religious beliefs and get away with it? Probably, but not because the law doesn't apply to me. More than likely I could get away with questioning your religious beliefs because small employers see few lawsuits since small employers generally don't have big pockets like large corporations. If it isn't going to make an attorney some income, an attorney won't take the case. How's that for justice?
Also, small employers often hire employees with basic skills that make them easily employable elsewhere so once the employee has secured employment elsewhere the employee is unlikely to pursue damages further.
The EEOC enforces a variety of federal laws
, not all of which apply to small employers. For example, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) applies only to employers with 15 or more employees
, which excludes me, so if you reply to my ad for employment and you come into my office in a wheelchair and complain that the file cabinet is too high for you to reach, I don't have to worry about it. I can decline your application for a job (or even fire you) specifically because you are unable to reach the top drawer of one of my file cabinets and you cannot sue me for an ADA violation.
While the EEOC regulations also apply to government entities, such as local, state and federal governments, the process by which one files an EEOC complaint against a government entity is handled through a different legal path.
Now, with regard to this guy suing Voss ... what I found interesting is that either (1) this is a setup in which a specific employer was targeted for a blatant, repeated EEOC violations or (2) it was a one-man mission to find out who is a True ChristianTM
and who ain't, a sort of reverse public relations fiasco. Either way, it's a demonstration of why religion shouldn't be in the workplace unless your workplace is specific to religion (a church). Voss cannot legally inquire about the religious status or affiliation of any of its employes, nor can it require
that current or prospective employees participate in unpaid religious activities. Worse, if Voss does require employees to show up to work early to participate in any
activity, Voss will have to pay its employees for the extra time spent on the job. Since I am sure that Voss squeezes every employee for every minute of a 40-hour work week, those extra "bible study meetings" before the workday begins qualify as overtime, which is 1.5x normal pay or 2x normal pay on federal holidays. Praise Jesus! Hallelujah!