Voss Lighting, a Nebraska-based company, was accused by an Oklahoma man, Edward Wolfe, of refusing to hire him based on his religious beliefs. With the assistance of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Wolfe pursued a religious employment discrimination lawsuit against Voss Lighting in an Oklahoma federal court in 2012. It was not until March of 2013 that Wolfe was offered a settlement from Voss Lighting, in the amount of $82,500.
Oklahoma Employment Discrimination Law There are both federal and state laws that prohibit discrimination against people of certain classes, including (but not limited to) classes such as race, national origin, religion, gender, and age. These laws protect our civil rights as Americans and should not be taken lightly. Title VII is the federal law that covers companies with 15 or more employees and prohibits employment discrimination.
Voss Violated Federal Discrimination Law According to the Wolfe lawsuit, Voss violated federal law by refusing to offer him employment at the Tulsa, Oklahoma location. Voss had advertised the position through a Baptist church that a Tulsa office manager attended. Although Wolfe did not attend that particular Baptist church, he heard about the advertised position and applied for it.
During his interview, Wolfe alleges that he was asked numerous questions regarding his religious practices and beliefs. He was also asked to list churches that he had attended, when and where he was "saved," and whether or not he would find issue with coming to work early in order to attend Bible study. During a follow-up interview, the lawsuit alleges that a Voss branch manager at the Tulsa branch was visibly troubled with Wolfe's responses to the questions regarding religion.
Despite being qualified for the position, Wolfe was not hired. Instead, Voss continued to seek other applicants, as there were no other qualified applicants when Wolfe was interviewed. The company eventually hired someone whose religious ideology was similar to the beliefs of Voss Lighting and their leadership. Voss Lighting refused to acknowledge any wrongdoing in the settlement with Wolfe, stating they elected to settle "to avoid a long, expensive legal fight."
Contact A Legal Representative Employment discrimination is unfair, but more importantly, it is illegal. If you feel you have been discriminated against by an employer, call an experienced Oklahoma employment law attorney who will fight for your rights. Frasier, Frasier & Hickman, LLP offers a free consultation. Contact us today at 918-779-3658 to discuss what happened to you.