GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) — A lawsuit has been filed against a Greensboro-based home renovation company, alleging it required employees to participate in “prayer sessions” as a condition of employment, in violation of federal law.
According to the EEOC’s lawsuit filed Tuesday, Aurora Renovations and Developments LLC retaliated against employees who opposed required participation in religious prayer sessions.
The lawsuit alleges that since at least June 2020, the company required all employees to attend daily Christian prayer meetings conducted by the owner, including Bible readings, devotionals and other Christian practices. The owner would “take roll” before some meetings and reprimand employees who did not attend.
A construction manager asked to be excused from the prayer portion of the meetings in the fall of 2020. EEOC alleges that Aurora refused to accommodate the employee’s religious beliefs, as he was an atheist. They say that Aurora cut his pay and then fired him.
In January of 2021, the lawsuit states that a customer service representative stopped attending the prayer meetings because she was agnostic, and she was fired as well.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination, harassment or retaliation on the basis of religious beliefs in the workplace. In addition to monetary relief for the plaintiffs, the EEOC is also seeking “injunctive relief” against Aurora, to combat religious discrimination against future employees.
“Federal law protects employees from having to choose between their sincerely held religious beliefs and their jobs,” said Melinda C. Dugas, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Charlotte District. “Employers who sponsor prayer meetings in the workplace have a legal obligation to accommodate employees whose personal religious or spiritual views conflict with the company’s practice.”