In March 2014, the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) announced a settlement in the matter of Lowe v. The Salvation Army, a claim by former Salvation Army employees, some of whom claim they were fired for protesting the imposition of religious requirements on employees paid with government grant money.
In the suit, filed in 2004, the employees claimed that The Salvation Army required job applicants and employees to acknowledge that the group’s mission was to provide services consistent with “the Gospel of Jesus Christ.” The plaintiffs also claimed they were asked to identify their church and how often they attended. When those employees declined to provide this information, some were fired or their jobs threatened.
The settlement calls for the Salvation Army to notify all current and future employees of its government-funded social service programs that the organization doesn’t discriminate against employees for their religious beliefs. The notification requirement only applies to workers in New York.
The Salvation Army acknowledged no wrongdoing in the settlement agreement, which also calls for court oversight of the organization for two years. However, it agreed to pay $450,000 to the plaintiffs.
In the NYCLU’s press release, Executive Director Donna Lieberman said “Our settlement makes certain that The Salvation Army retains the right to practice and promote its religion while ensuring that it will not use government money to discriminate or indoctrinate.”
If you or a loved one has suffered discrimination or retaliation at the hands of an employer, it is crucial that you contact an experienced employment attorney. Discrimination can take make forms and may be based on an employee’s gender, race, religious beliefs or sexual orientation. A skilled attorney will afford you the representation you deserve and ensure your legal rights are protected.