Christian Business Sued for 'Religious Discrimination' Over Bible Study?

A Nebraska-based Christian business is being sued for alleged religious discrimination against a prospective employee.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed a lawsuit against the Voss Lighting Company of Lincoln last week on behalf of Edward Wolfe of Oklahoma. According to the suit, Wolfe applied for a job with Voss' Oklahoma office but was not hired because he stated in his interviews that he was unwilling to arrive to work early to attend a Bible study.

In a press release, the EEOC explained that they took up the case because of their belief that Voss' actions were in violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

"Despite being considered qualified for the position, which involved no religious duties or responsibilities, Wolfe was denied employment on the basis of his religious beliefs," reads the release.

"The EEOC's suit seeks back pay, compensatory and punitive damages and reinstatement or front pay for Wolfe as well as injunctive relief, including a court order prohibiting Voss Lighting from any further discrimination against applicants on the basis of their religious beliefs or non-beliefs."

Steve Sanderson, vice president and general manager for Voss Lighting, told The Christian Post that until they have received and gone through the "official paperwork" from the suit, they cannot comment on the details of the case.

"Voss denies that the charging party was not hired as a consequence of his religious beliefs," said Sanderson in a statement to CP.

"The individual hired by Voss had more lighting product experience and was more qualified than the charging party. Voss looks forward to a judicial determination of the rights of the parties."

Barbara A. Seely, regional attorney of the EEOC's St. Louis District Office, said in a statement that Voss was specifically violating Title VII of the Act.

"Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 has long prohibited a private employer from discriminating against applicants or employees based on their religious beliefs or practices – or lack thereof," said Seely.

"The level of intolerance demonstrated by Voss Lighting is inconsistent with the values of the free and diverse society embodied in these laws."

Voss Lighting Company was founded in 1939 by Henry Voss of Lincoln, Neb. It has offices in 16 major cities spread over twelve states.

The suit was filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma last week under the title EEOC v. Voss Electric Company d/b/a Voss Lighting.

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