A thread on Reddit is getting massive attention after an anonymous poster, who claims to be a Christian business owner in Texas, posted, asking for legal advice. Specifically, the business owner wondered how he could legally fire an employee for being unwed, pregnant, and not a Christian. The poster has been accused of trolling, but whether or not his question is serious, it’s leading to discussion about hiring discrimination, and the feelings of some devout religious individuals about hiring those whose beliefs differ.
After briefly describing his business model, the purported owner speaks of an employee who he says has recently become a problem.
“We are also a Christian business and follow Christian values. Recently, one of our employees announced she was pregnant. I never knew she was married. When I asked her about it, she said she wasn’t married, and was living with her boyfriend. Neither of these are Christian values and will hurt our reputation.”
The right of a business to hold religious beliefs and act upon them, even in defiance of the law, was the subject of Hobby Lobby’s Supreme Court case, and is still a matter of some great debate. The right to specifically discriminate in hiring, too, has been in question — notably, the Creation Museum’s Ark Park recently lost government funding due, in part, to an insistence that employees share the founder’s fundamentalist Christian beliefs.
So, what was the response to the business owner’s Reddit request? Well, let’s look at his specific questions, first.
He’d like to know whether he can legally fire this woman for being an unwed, pregnant, cohabitating non-Christian, and if not, what loopholes might make it legal. If none, then he asks, what should he do to prepare for the lawsuit?
Closing, he notes that he’d rather lose the business completely than continue to employ a non-Christian woman.
“I really do wish her the best and hope she finds Christ (she’s an atheist), but I can’t help her lead others astray. That is just wrong of me and I’d rather go bankrupt and have all 15 people lose their jobs before that.”
Reddit’s advice to the guy? Other than overwhelmingly accusing him of being a troll, who just wanted to rile people up, the general response was no. No, you can’t fire someone for their religious beliefs — it’s discrimination. No, firing a few more people to get your business under 15 employees won’t help. Also, no, it’s not going to be good for business to fire your PR person, openly and outspokenly, for her religious beliefs and pregnancy.
Though the business owner deleted the initial post, many of his comments in the thread remain visible.
“I’ve said multiple times that I will gladly lose my company before enabling her.
But that may not be the only option. The reason I posted here, which no one seems to understand, is to find a way to fire her without putting 14 other people out of work.
“This is the US. She may be uncomfortable, but she won’t starve.
“This topic has been made excessively clear by God. I don’t want these people to lose their jobs, but that is much better than allowing her to normalize sinful behavior.
Whether the story is true, or whether the poster is a troll, the thread is getting massive attention, showing up on the front page of multiple subreddits, and generating hundreds of responses in all of them.
Should a Christian business owner be able to only hire people who share his beliefs and values? Do you think this guy is serious, or a troll? Sound off in the comments and let us know.