Federal and state regulators have favored the filing by a Christian rescue mission based in Casper, Wyoming, to hire only candidates who support the latter’s religious convictions.
According to Wyoming Rescue Mission‘s legal representatives, the nonprofit shelter provider succeeded in getting services only from believers.
A Washington Times report bared that the organization filed a lawsuit against the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services (DFS) relevant to its 2020 decision not to hire an acknowledged non-believer.
Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), the mission’s legal representative, said that the applicant sued the rescue mission for an alleged discriminatory practice. The lawsuit launched an official probe that lasted 16 months.
Other Details of the Lawsuit
The news outlet disclosed that workers in the rescue mission’s thrift store, where the candidate applied, are supposed to engage in its Discipleship Recovery Program.
According to its website, the Wyoming Rescue Mission “restores with the love of Christ those struggling with homelessness back to society as independent community members.
The website added that the organization seeks to “nurture sanctuaries of radical hospitality where the homeless and needy experience the transforming love of Jesus, thus propelling the church into the lead role of alleviating poverty in Wyoming.”
ADF explained in a statement that the program aims to teach thrift store employees “how to spread the gospel, model Christ and disciple one another.”
Government representatives explained that the rescue mission’s charter as a faith-based entity came with religious hiring restrictions that do not fall under the Civil Rights Act of 1964’s Title VII and the state’s Fair Employment Practices Act of 1965. However, government officials lamented that the mission “likely” committed a violation of the said statutes.
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About the Consent Decree
ADF legal counsel Jacob Reed expressed their satisfaction with the government’s decree granting their client freedom to refuse employment to non-Christian applicants.
“The First Amendment protects Wyoming Rescue Mission‘s freedom to hire those who share its beliefs without being threatened and investigated by the government. We’re pleased to favorably settle this case for the rescue mission so it can continue its critical work of serving some of Casper‘s most vulnerable citizens and spreading the gospel,” The Washington Times quoted Reed saying.
The consent decree filed Tuesday said Wyoming Rescue Mission may fire employees who do not conform to its religious beliefs. The mission may also specify in its job posting that it would only hire Christian believers according to its hiring guidelines.
Specifically, the decree said the rescue mission may hire only candidates “who agree with and live out the mission‘s religious beliefs and practices.”
Meanwhile, the report revealed that Wyoming’s Department of Workforce Services would pay ADF $1,000 to settle legal representation fees. Scott W. Skavdahl, federal district court judge, also junked the EEOC from the case after the settlement was completed.
Wyoming DFS policy, planning, and communications chief deputy administrator Ty Stockton refused to issue a statement regarding the decree pending feedback from the state agency’s upper leadership.
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