Did Internet giant GoDaddy reject an Arizona software engineer's job application because he was an overweight Christian?
GoDaddy denies the charge. But an attorney for Arizona resident Keith Connolly says his client has rock-solid proof to support the jaw-dropping allegation.
Connolly was recruited for a job with the Internet domain registrar in April 2014. After two telephone interviews and two Skype interviews, he was summoned to GoDaddy's headquarters in Scottsdale.
By all indications, Connolly said, the interviews went well. But a month later he received a rejection email from GoDaddy's talent acquisition team.
"We have reviewed your qualifications against the job requirements for our Mobile IOS Developer position and decided there is not a strong enough match to move forward at this time," the email read in part.
But Connolly says there was an attachment to the email – and that it revealed the true reason he wasn't hired.
He says the attachment read:
"about keith he's great for the job in skills but he looks worse for wear do we really want an obeese (sic)christian? is that what our new image requires of us?"
"It was very embarrassing," Connolly told me. "They should be hiring people based on their skills, not on where they go on Sunday or how round their waistband is."
GoDaddy spokesman Dan Race responded to the allegations with a terse statement.
"GoDaddy intends to vigorously defend itself against these false allegations, including pursuing legal action for fabricating this claim," he wrote in an email to Fox News. "We believe the allegations are completely without merit and unequivocally deny them."
So does GoDaddy believe Connolly faked the email? The spokesman would not answer that question.
Attorney Casey Yontz said the email is authentic and his client wants an apology.
"This is one of the most egregious emails I've seen in my career," he said. "To think they would have the audacity to think that it's OK to write a thought like that in an email says a lot about what is going on over there."
Yontz said he had been in contact with GoDaddy's general counsel for several weeks, asking them to preserve any evidence connected to the alleged email.
"Their reaction to me was that they were either hacked or the email was manufactured," he said. "I doubt someone is going to hack GoDaddy and target Keith knowing he's a Christian and fat. And it's absurd to think this would be manufactured."
Yontz said his client simply wants an apology. And that's about all he may get – if that. The statute of limitations for a discrimination complaint has long passed.
So why did Connolly wait nearly a year before taking action?
"He was too embarrassed to talk about it," Yontz said.
He said he and Connolly are friends and that Connolly casually referenced the email one day when they were talking about GoDaddy.
"I was immediately taken aback and told him he needed to seek legal recourse immediately," Yontz said. "Keith sat on the email way too long."
And how would GoDaddy know Connolly was a Christian? Did he show up for the job interview carrying a Bible?
"I didn't mention my faith at all while I was interviewing," he told me. "I didn't have a 'Jesus Saves' shirt or giant cross. It was just a standard interview."
He and Yontz suspect GoDaddy checked out his social networking websites.
Connolly said he was more surprised by the insult about his weight than by the crack about his faith.
"The tech industry has an anti-religion and especially anti-Christian atmosphere," he told me. "There's an idea that the hip, modern technologists have to be atheists."
Attorney Yontz, who is also a Christian, said the alleged email is frustrating.
"It feels like there is this battle that Christianity is facing right now," he said. "It feels like we're on the ropes, and seeing this email confirms that – the fact that it was written so freely. This type of discrimination – it's becoming the norm."
Remember what happened to the former chief executive officer at Mozilla?
Brandon Eich "chose" to resign after it was revealed that he'd given money to back California's Proposition 8 – a constitutional amendment that defined marriage as between a man and a woman.
Let's just say Connolly may have a point about the technology world being a less than tolerant industry.
Yontz said his client is still exploring his legal options. And from the tone and tenor of GoDaddy's statement, they are too.