2 NC workers fired for not joining company’s daily Christian devotionals, EEOC says



Two employees with a North Carolina company say they were fired after refusing to participate in the firm’s daily Christian prayer meetings, which they said went against their respective religious beliefs, according to a lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

The lawsuit, which seeks a jury trial, was filed in U.S. District Court in Greensboro on Monday on behalf of John McGaha, a construction manager at Aurora Pro Services, and Mackenzie Saunders, a customer service representatives at the Greensboro residential services company. The EEOC announced the lawsuit Tuesday in a news release.

It comes on the heels of a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court which said a high school football coach in Washington state who knelt and prayed on the field after games was protected by the Constitution.

Mary Kate Littlejohn, a Greenville, South Carolina, attorney representing McGaha and Saunders, declined comment Tuesday. No one from Aurora Pro Services was immediately available for comment Tuesday and questions on the lawsuit were referred to an email address from which there was no immediate answer.

In the complaint, the EEOC says daily prayer meetings are part of Aurora’s business model, though there is no reference to it on its web page. Attendance at the prayer meetings was mandatory for employees and was a condition of employment regardless of a worker’s religious beliefs or affiliation, the complaint said.

On occasion, prayers were requested and offered “for poor performing employees who were identified by name,” according to the complaint. Also, the complaint noted, the company owner took attendance and would reprimand employees who did not attend.

McGaha, who identifies himself as an atheist, was hired by the company on June 8, 2020. He said the prayer meetings, which initially lasted around 15 minutes, stretched in length to around 45 minutes and even longer. Saunders, who worked at Aurora from November 2020 until Jan. 21, 2021, describes herself as an agnostic. She also acknowledged that the prayer meetings became longer over time.

According to the complaint, McGaha said the longer the prayer meetings went, the less tolerable they became. He said he was asked on one occasion to lead the Christian prayer, which he refused. In late August 2020, he asked the owner of the company to be excused from those parts of the meeting that pertained to religion because of his conflict with it, but the owner refused and told him “it would be in his best interest to do so.”

McGaha asked again in September to be excused. The complaint said the owner told him that he did not have to believe in God nor did he have to like the meetings but he had to participate. McGaha refused and he was fired, the complaint said. Before he was fired, the owner reduced his base pay from $800 to $400 and his commissions were withheld after his dismissal, the EEOC said.

In January 2021, Saunders stopped going to the prayer meetings because they conflicted with her religion. She was fired, the complaint said, adding that the owner told her she “was not a good fit” for the company.

The complaint also seeks a permanent injunction to prevent the company from engaging in employment practices that discriminate on the basis of religion and subject workers to a hostile work environment “by coercing participating in daily prayer.”

April Smith • 2 hours ago • edited

I had to deal with that workplace religious crap.

After I told the Supervisor who was in charge of my sexual harassment complaint on how his brother in law called me a faggot, knocked me down, pinned me to the floor and spit in my face he said I needed to forgive everyone (especially his brother in law) and “turn it over to Jesus”.

These “moral” people and their enablers are freaking evil.

April Smith Lio • 2 hours ago • edited

I worked for a state agency here in Oklahoma. It was a industrial setting (a fossil fueled power plant) where I worked in the Operations Department. This was before I transitioned so I guess I stuck out with the good old boys for not wanting to degrade and generally trash women. They assumed I was a gay male so I caught abuse from both the wife beaters and the religious nuts. On top of that I had no help from management.

It was a nightmare.

April Smith Tread • an hour ago

Well, after my mental break I was able to go on SSDI. Even after years of therapy there are problems. Still uneasy around tall buildings. Had two coworkers throw rocks at me off a six story building.

JackFknTwist • 2 hours ago

How absurd and risible that ‘prayers’ should have any role in the workplace.
It’s positively medieval.

crewman • 2 hours ago

“As an employer I demand the freedom to impose my religion and morality on all employees.”

Ščŏŧŧ Ċ – 🇺🇦 🕊 • 2 hours ago

SCOTUS ruling:
Atheists and agnostics have no religious beliefs, are spiritually defective, have no rights, and we hereby proclaim they are not human. Prison for both plaintiffs, until they see the error of their ways.

JWC • 2 hours ago

Prayers for “poor performers” sounds a tad like intimidation

Bruno • 2 hours ago

Gorsuch will make up facts and rule against the workers.

robindaybird • 2 hours ago

Yeah – this isn’t just religious discrimination, publicly humiliating employees for poor performance creates a hostile workplace prayer or not.

20 thoughts on “2 NC workers fired for not joining company’s daily Christian devotionals, EEOC says

  1. If everything you reported in the post is accurate … they should ABSOLUTELY win their case! Unless they were advised before being hired that they would be required to participate in “religious” meetings, I can’t see how the company can win.

    BUT !!! Stranger things have happened. Like praying coaches.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hello Nan. The law as I understand it is only a religious organization such as a church or church school can require people to be of a certain faith or participate in religious rituals. Normal businesnesses can not require it. It interers with the right to religous freedom. However as Cagjr says below if it get to the Supreme Court the business will win. The point of every ruling so far from this court is to force the Christian religion into an elevated position in everyone’s life. The church as the social center, the church leaders as the community pillars and power, and to have it be very publicly something everyone has to acknowledge. It is a deliberate attempt to not only destroy the separation of church and state but to change the US to a Christian doctrine driven country. Hugs

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hello brucedesertrat. Thanks for the information. Do you think that the lowering the persons wages in retaliation will make a difference? But yes in the states that allow businesses to fire a person for any reason and have low unemployment payouts give all the power to the employer. In far too many states the workers can not win. Hugs


        1. in At-will employment states like TN and AZ, there is very little an employer can do to you that isn’t allowed.

          They cannot overtly discriminate against workers based on age, disablility, race, religion (the tiniest thread this case hangs on) or gender (male/female only!). These are all covered by (iirc) Title VII of the civil rights act, as amended by other acts like the ADA. (It’s been a while since I looked this up.)

          Getting around these limits is as simple as stating “It’s because of their work performance” or “They did not work properly with their co-workers” or “we decided to downsize”.

          It is very hard to win a case like this in an at-will state; you pretty much have to have documentary proof of them saying “I am firing you because you’re old.”

          And of course this is a constant thing across the old plantation South. Heck, a legislator in TN blocked a deal with Volkswagen that would have brought a few thousand jobs to the state unless VW agreed to terms that prevented them from recognizing unions at the plant. They just swapped out slave labor for wage slave labor.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Watching the evening news. The Supreme Court upheld the Louisianna GOP in doing away with one of the two districts that had minority representation. They aren’t wasting any time. They are on a scorched-earth policy to revoke as many rights as possible in the chance that they lose in this election. If they don’t lose the election, then they have a great headstart on their theocracy or whatever system they have in mind. They don’t worry much about governing. They intend to rule.

    This is how the laws of God work, in real-time.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Cagjr. It is well known now that these 6 are willing to rule based on Republican hard right ideology rather than the constitution or legal principles. But what most do not realize is 5 of these right wingers are either racist or promoters of the white people as the true Americans. Alito, Barrett, and Roberts are open about it and have ruled for things that hurt or harm black people and native people and against any remedies for those things. Kavanaugh is more circumspect but has made rulings that favor white people over blacks, and he has ruled for voter discrimination laws. Thomas seems to vote against his own racial interests and the interests of black people quite often. Interesting Gorsuch seems to be the only one of the hard right judges on the court that is not using race as the measure of how he will vote, yet. But all of the six including Thomas are OK with discriminatory voter restriction laws and maps that reduce minority voting power and increase white voting majority as long as it favors Republicans. Hugs


      1. “Thomas seems to vote against his own racial interests and the interests of black people quite often.”

        Based on the aggressive personality of his WHITE wife, she’s probably convinced him that he’s REALLY white and just happens to have dark pigmented skin.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. “Conservatism consists of exactly one proposition, to wit:
          There must be in-groups whom the law protects but does not bind, alongside out-groups whom the law binds but does not protect.”

          Thomas is in the in-group.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Scottie.
    The Laws of God still working. Velshi reported that a pharmacy stopped selling contraceptives on the notion that they contributed to abortion.

    I remember when, not too long ago, birth control was illegal and the Catholic Church forbade the use of contraceptives.

    The pharmacy relented and restored the sale of the product. It seems the ‘fear’ of offending the church caused them to make a decision under duress.

    This is going to be our future if we don’t bring this crazy shit to an end.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Cagjr. The right wing YouTube channels have been full of gloating guys claiming they were taking the country back, putting women in their place, and getting rid of the evil LGBTQ+. The Christian channels are full of god is in charge again and god controls the country and as I just posted from Texas Paul the theme is it is not enough until the country is a Christian theocracy controlled by the church of the hosts choice. Ron and I are looking into where we can go to be out of a church controlled country. Hugs


    1. Hello Jill. Yes, unless the Democrats get off their ass, and bring in more energetic younger people who can inspire people with ideas to help the public we are screwed. Very screwed. Biden’s, Pelosi’s, and Schumer’s plodding shuffling slow delivery and only take small policy steps so the big money donors are still happy is not doing it. I am hearing more and more people simply drop out, feeling it is useless to even try to fight back. The feeling is so oppressive here in red Florida under thug gang governor DeathSantis who boldly claimed in your face style that only one person had died of Covid when in fact 47 had is creating, a feeling of being in an occupied police state. Hugs

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re right … we need some new blood in the Democratic Party, some renewed energy, and we need to find a way to tap into the needs/wants of the voters, to let them know we’re listening and that we can help. Sigh. Unfortunately, there was a bombardment of things that has kept Biden preoccupied, kept him from being able to keep some of his promises, and given the Republicans even more things to critique and blame, even though he isn’t responsible for the war in Ukraine, for supply chain issues, for the rising price of fuel & food … but he gets blamed anyway. If lightning were to hit the RNC headquarters, they’d find a way to blame Joe Biden. I think, however, the media is doing a huge disservice to this nation buy joining in the feeding frenzy, for I can see it in people’s faces and hear it in their voices, that they are discouraged and don’t feel the importance of even voting in November. I have no doubt that if every person 18 and older could and DID vote, the Republicans wouldn’t stand a snowball’s chance in hell in most districts. But, between voter restrictions and voter apathy … 🤷

        DeSantis disgusts me as much as Trump does and if it weren’t cruel, I might well wish death on both of them before November 2024. Sigh. See what this political climate has done to me? Hugs

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Didn’t Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, in particular, push the “progressive” side of the Democrats? And what did it get her? While I personally would like to see more of this, I’m afraid the “old school” Democrats just aren’t ready for this much change. IOW, it pretty much goes back to what Scottie and I have discussed now and again … the majority of the voting public (the ones who actually go to the polls) are still living in the past. Shake-ups in the party platform scare them.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. What SHOULD scare them is the ideas coming from the other side of the aisle! Take away freedom of religion, freedom of bodily choice, freedom of speech, freedom to walk down the street without being shot, and what’s left? Not much. The Democrats in Congress and among the voting public need to wake up and smell the coffee! And more … those who cannot seem to be bothered to vote need to wake up, else they, too, will be swallowed by the far right and sent back to Orwell’s 1984. Sigh.

            Liked by 1 person

          2. Hello Nan. I think that is changing as life keeps getting harder for most people and the gap between the haves / have nots is increasing. Look at the Progressive Jessica Cisneros running against Corporate Democrat U.S. Representative Henry Cuellar in Texas. Cuellar is anti-abortion and is pro business, and voted with trump over 80% of the time. He is a DINO, he is a republican. But the establishment threw everything they could behind him including money, advertisements, in person events. The corporate democrat / republican won but the winning margin was razor thin. Less than 300 votes. At one point it was a difference of only 109 votes. This shows that even in the reddest of states the progressive movement is growing. People are fed up. They have had it. The more we get the information out there in the public view the more people are scared as Jill says. What the other side is doing is frightening a lot of people now in the country who see their real freedom suddenly disappearing and a forced way of life based on other people’s religions being enacted. Hugs


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