The Seventh Court of Appeals has upheld a lower court's ruling against an Illinois woman who sued Wal-Mart for religious discrimination. According to the woman, she has a God-given right to scream anti-gay epithets at her coworkers. Gay City News reports:
According to the unsigned ruling, Tanisha Matthews, who describes herself as an Apostolic Christian, worked as an overnight stocker at a Wal-Mart store in Joliet, Illinois. While on a break, she took part in a heated conversation with other employees about God and homosexuality. Another employee who participated reported to management that Matthews was "screaming over her" that God does not accept gays, they should not "be on earth," and they will "go to hell" because they are not "right in the head." During a company investigation of the incident, five other employees confirmed that Matthews said gays are sinners who are going to hell. Wal-Mart managers considered these remarks to be "serious harassment" in violation of the company's "Zero Tolerance" harassment policy, which bars any conduct that could be interpreted as harassment on the basis of categories that include sexual orientation. Serious harassment is considered "gross misconduct" that is grounds for dismissal.The ruling observes: "If Matthews is arguing that Wal-Mart must permit her to admonish gays at work to accommodate her religion, the claim fails. Wal-Mart fired her because she violated company policy when she harassed a co-worker, not because of her beliefs, and employers need not relieve workers from complying with neutral workplace rules as a religious accommodation if it would create an undue hardship." The above-linked article notes that Christian legal groups have been ramping up claims of the right to proselytize in the workplace. Courts, so far, have largely disagreed.
Read the entire ruling.