INDIANAPOLIS (CN) – Lowe’s Home Centers fired two workers because they refused proselytization from their Christian manager and his invitations to join him at Calvary Baptist Church, the workers claim in Federal Court. The plaintiffs, including a longtime operations manager, claim that “Lowe’s management permitted, committed, and encouraged disparate treatment of its employees based upon their religious views.”
Chad Vencel and Karen Chandler say their store manager Mike Boshell, with the approval of another supervisor, regularly proselytized employees and asked them to go to his Calvary Baptist Church. They claim Boshell “informed employees that his standard for conduct within the store was ‘Faith before family before career,’ and treated employees disparately based upon their willingness to share his beliefs.”
Chandler, an operations manager, says she began working for Lowe’s in 1998 and was fired in February 2009. Boshell became store manager in June 2008.
The plaintiffs claim Lowe’s investigated Vencel on a bogus complaint, and asked Chandler to lie about him, “only because Vencel did not share the religious and sexual mores of store management.” Vencel claims Lowe’s “repeatedly ask(ed) him to alter his written account falsely to comply with their desired outcome.”
They were fired within 6 days of each other, the plaintiffs say. They seek punitive damages for discrimination, retaliation and civil rights violations. They are represented by Steven Fulk.
Calvary Baptist Church has been described as the fastest-growing evangelical church in the nation.