Report: Family Radio Hit With Job Discrimination Suit
November 23, 2016 at 5:33 AM (PT)
FAMILY RADIO is being sued by an accountant who alleges that the Christian radio network fired her because she is a lesbian.
The EAST BAY TIMES reports that SHEMRA ATKINSON was hired in MAY 2015 to work on the network's finances, which took a hit after the late HAROLD CAMPING's false prediction of the end of the world, and she says she earned a promotion and raise before the company found out she was gay and fired her. The case, filed on OCTOBER 21st, alleges wrongful termination, discrimination, harassment. and retaliation by President TOM EVANS.
In the suit, ATKINSON said that after some incidents with other employees expressing anti-gay sentiments, including having a pamphlet written by CAMPING calling the pride movement a sign of Judgment Day, and a staff meeting that discussed whether or not to hire a gay employee, ATKINSON told her supervisor she would tell the executives that she was gay, but was fired before she could do so. The suit claims that EVANS' letter terminating her employment said, "We understand that you are no longer happy in your position, that you have been actively seeking other employment, and that you no longer believe you can support the mission of FAMILY STATIONS. While we understand that you may disagree with FAMILY STATIONS’ mission, your statement that you would ‘teach these Christians a lesson’ was threatening and inappropriate.”
EVANS' response to the suit in an e-mail to the TIMES said that there is “no factual or legal basis for Ms. ATKINSON’s claims ... As a religious entity, FAMILY RADIO has not and does not discriminate against any individual in employment, on any basis, including sexual orientation. To do so would violate the Biblical teaching of loving our neighbor as ourselves.” FAMILY STATIONS' attorney JULIA JENNESS said that the company does not discriminate but additionally is exempt as a religious organization from the Fair Employment and Housing Act; ATKNSON's attorney JUDITH WOLFF alleges that since FAMILY RADIO and CAMPING disavowed traditional churches, it does not qualify as a "religious organization."