We wrote way back last June that it is difficult to believe these days that a multi-state company either has no relevant polices or employee handbook, or conducts so little training that it’s managers are permitted to ask a job applicant in-depth questions about his religious beliefs and affiliations, and then refuse to hire him when they do not agree with or like his responses. This was in response to an lawsuit filed then against Voss Electric Company (also known as Voss Lighting), which, it was alleged “appears to have a corporate culture that requires employees adhere to certain religious beliefs that have absolutely no bearing on the business of selling lighting products.”
The EEOC just announced that it settled that case – and Voss will pay $82,500 and furnish company-wide injunctive relief. Among other things, the suit alleged that a job applicant who applied for an open position as an “operations supervisor,” a position which involved no religious duties or responsibilities, was asked to identify every church he had attended over several years; where and when he was "saved" and the circumstances that led up to it; and whether he "would have a problem" coming into work early to attend Bible study before clocking in. At the second interview, the branch manager became upset over the applicant’s responses and refused him employment.
For its transgressions, Voss now must undertake the following: post an EEOC notice specifically prohibiting employment discrimination on the basis of religion at all its 21 locations spanning 12 states; re-disseminate anti-discrimination policies; periodically report to the EEOC about specified hiring information; conduct religion-neutral job advertising; and train management on religious discrimination.
As we said last year: Please don’t be a Voss. Know the law and have your managers and employees act accordingly.