Proselytization Was Harassment, Worker Says

     MILWAUKEE (CN) – A risk-management group fired a security guard who resisted his managers’ Pentecostal proselytization, which included Bible verses with his paychecks, the man claims in court.
     Christopher Albert sued the Genesis Group in Federal Court.
     Albert claims he was repeatedly harassed at work and eventually fired for sticking to his own religion.
     The complaint states: “Over the course of his employment with the defendant the plaintiff was subjected to frequent religious proselytization by management personnel of the defendant.
     “With each pay stub the defendant employer would include Bible verses with the checks.
     “On a number of occasions plaintiff was approached by the management personnel and encouraged to join their church, and the plaintiff would respond that he was fine with his own beliefs (non-Pentecostal).”
     The proselytization became annoying, Albert says.
     “In the first week of January 2009 plaintiff’s grandmother and brother passed away within the same week. Plaintiff went in to speak to Anthony Sherman, who with Chief Pablo Valezquez encouraged Mr. Albert to pray. Plaintiff felt frustrated and harassed by this incident.
     “Mr. Sherman informed the plaintiff that his brother died and was taken by Jesus in order to break him (the plaintiff) down and build him up with a stronger faith in God.
     “Over the course of his employment the plaintiff was denied promotion, employees with shorter employment histories with the defendant, even some who had been trained by the plaintiff, had been promoted over the plaintiff.”
     He worked from Dec. 13, 2007 until he was fired on Aug. 3, 2009, Albert says in the complaint. After he was fired, he filed a discrimination complaint with the EEOC, which “ultimately determined that the defendant employer did fail to provide a work environment free from religious harassment,” according to the complaint.
     It continues: “The EEO did not determine that the discharge of Chris Albert was the result of a discriminatory motive. The EEO’s determination in this regard was incorrect.”
     In addition to lost wages, Albert claims, his firing caused “lack of sleep,
     lack of appetite, and depression. The plaintiff sought medical aid and was prescribed
     anti-depressants, Lexapro.”
     He seeks back pay with interest, damages for emotional distress, and attorneys fees. He is represented by Ryan Kastelic.

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