Firing based on religion, et. al.

I work for a software company that makes software for christian bookstores. All of the other employees except one are devout christians. Could I be fired from the company based on my religion (or rather, my lack thereof) because this might be construed as a “faith-based” company?
I am pretty outspoken about my views, though so are most of the faithful people there–should I have to hold my tongue because I work for a “family company”?

what jurisdiction are you in? laws on this type of issue vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, so it’s not possible to answer your question with the info you’ve given.

I live in central texas.

ASAIK, unless a company gets federal or state financial support in some manner, they can fire someone for this reason.

We even have a Doper here who claims that he would only hire Christians to work for his company…


Yer pal,
Satan

ok, this begs the question of HOW THE HELL CAN THEY GET AWAY WITH THIS? You can’t deny someone a job based on sex or race, but religion is fine? I fail to see the logic here.

BTW, what do IANAL and ASAIK stand for?

AFAIK, a private company can hire whoever ever they want or fire whoever they want, depending on the contract forms and how much support they get from the gov.

IANAL = “I am not a lawyer” (we get a lot of legal inquiries on this board, and we also have a lot of bright people who know about the law without being lawyers, so this is the standard disclaimer)

AFAIK = “As far as I know”

ASAIK = :confused: = ask Satan.

In answer to your original question, I don’t know anything about the law in Texas, so can’t venture an opinion. (In Canada, it would likely be a breach of the provincial human rights statutes, depending on the exact facts.)

By the way, welcome to the SDMB.

I have never heard of the ‘Faith-based’ exemption, but I am assuming is is somewhat like the ‘entertainment’ reasoning. For example if someone wants to put on a paid production of Hamlet, then they can legalyonly consider women for the role of Ophelia. This is the clause that allows strip clubs to hire only ‘certain-type’ of woman for stripper shows. It would be somewhat unreasonable to make a Catholic church hire a Presbyterian as a bishop, even if the Presbyterian was the most qualified. I’m guessing the ‘Faith-based’ designation was created with that type of situation in mind. Aplying the designation to your company would most likely be a decision of lawyers and beuroracts that I really can’t speak knowledgeably about.

IANAL: I am not a lawyer
ASAIK I’m not familar with, but AFAIK which means ‘As far as I know’ so it may have been a minor t5ypo.

As I understand it, even in “Right-to-work” states, you can’t dismiss someone for a bad reason (like religion), but you can dismiss someone for no reason.

Seems somewhat counter-intuitive, though.

Oh, I don’t know. What about Ol’Bug Vomit - haven’t seen him/her around for a while, though.

Damn, I put typo in a sentence about a possible typo that had already posted to by someone else before I sent it off, That may be the record for irrelevance.

thanks, jti, for the welcome–though I’m not really new as I’ve been lurking since the AOL board shut down.
As for my username, I got it from a post (I don’t remember by whom) about what the scientific name for a turd would be.

You’ve been lurking for two whole years???!! Man, you’re shy! In any event, glad you started posting - have fun.

Reading from the required posting in my office:

“Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, prohibits discriminiation in hiring, promotion, discharge, pay, fringe benefits and other aspects of employment , on the basiss of race, color, religion, sex or national origin. Applicants to and employees of most private employers, state and local governments and public or private educational institutions are protected. Employment agencies, labor unions and apprenticehship programs are also covered”.

The “most” part of private employers is that some family owned small businesses are exempt, IIRC. There are, I’d think, special circumstances that allow, for example, a Catholic Church to only hire a Catholic to be their priest. But for another example, a friend of mine (raised Luteran) is a teacher at a Catholic School in Utah (yea, I know).

As far as the “right to work” process: This needs to be seen in context. For example, if you are a unionized employee, it won’t matter if you live in a ‘right to work’ state, since your employment will be governed by the union contract and dismissal procedures there in must be used. My understanding is that if your employer has a “personnel policy” handbook, guide, whatever, it acts the same as a union contract.

If you are dismissed under ‘right to work’ state, absent a personnel policy and/or union contract, then the employer can dismiss you for any reason (including, my brother in law needs a job and I want to give him yours), but depending on the stated reason, you may be eligible for unemployment benefits (ie the brother in law). If the employer is foolish enough to say/write/confirm that they fired you because you were Catholic or one of the protected reasons, you probably would be able to sue for wrongful termination, even in a right to work state (IANAL, but that’s the interpretation I got from the Civil Rights Department worker).

Here’s a link to the Texas employment discrimination statutes: http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/statutes/la/la002100toc.html

The operative portions are modeled on federal law. I think you’ll want to look particularly at these sections:

21.051:An employer commits an unlawful employment practice if because of race, color, disability, religion, sex, national origin, or age the employer: (1) fails or refuses to hire an individual, discharges an individual, or discriminates in any other manner against an individual in connection with compensation or the terms, conditions, or privileges of employment …

21.108: (a) A religious corporation, association, society, or educational institution or an educational organization operated, supervised, or controlled in whole or in substantial part by a religious corporation, association, or society does not commit an unlawful employment practice by limiting employment or giving a preference to members of the same religion.

(b) Subchapter B does not apply to the employment of an individual of a particular religion by a religious corporation, association, or society to perform work connected with the performance of religious activities by the corporation, association, or society.

If you have real concerns about this subject, CONSULT AN ATTORNEY ON THE MATTER. I can’t possibly stress that enough.

Religious organizations are allowed to dismiss people that don’t agree with their doctrinal stances.

This is a legal necessity. Consider a church whose pastor has decided to change his denominational stance. Obviously, this church should not be forced to keep said pastor on the payroll!

In essence, you can be fired if your company qualifies as a “religious organization.” Whether it does is another question. A lawyer could answer that more thoroughly than I could.

This is slightly off track, but when I was applying for teaching jobs a while back, a number of Catholic-affiliated colleges and universities required that people who taught there agree to uphold the Christian values of the school. They didn’t require that you be Catholic or Christian, but they presumably could fire you for teaching anything that went too far against those tenets.

When I went to a Catholic high school, we had a teacher who was fired for marrying a divorced woman. He sued, but I think he lost.