SHERMAN, Texas (CN) - A Buddhist claims in court that his company fired him because he declined to put quotes from the Bible every day in the company newsletter he prepared as part of his job.
Jef Mindrup sued Goodman Networks in Federal Court. Goodman sells wireless network services and employs more than 500 people.
Mindrup claims he was unlawfully fired "because of his sincerely held religious beliefs" after working for Goodman for 8 years.
Mindrup was Goodman's director of marketing communications, he says in the 8-page lawsuit. Part of his job was to write and send out "The Morning Coffee," a daily company newsletter. He did that for six years.
On March 14, 2012, company co-founder Jody Goodman, a member of the board and vice president of staffing, corporate travel and diversity, no less, ordered him "to add Bible quotes to The Morning Coffee and to start doing so the next day," Mindrup says in the complaint.
He says he responded to Goodman the next day in an email: "Jody, I am 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."
Mindrup says Goodman responded in an email saying, "I respect your beliefs."
However, "on the following day, in an after-hours telephone call, plaintiff 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 says in the complaint.
He says Goodman claimed to the EEOC that it fired him "pursuant to an apparently pre-planned and well-thought out reduction in force." Mindrup doesn't believe it. He says, "Defendant's reason was a pretext in an effort to cover up defendant's illegal discrimination. ...
"Defendant's unlawful conduct ... included failing to accommodate plaintiff on the basis of his religion by requiring him to proselytize the Christian religion, a religion other than his own."
He seeks lost wages and damages for Title VII discrimination and punitive damages for pain and suffering. He is represented by Chris Miltenberger, of Southlake.