The Surprising Truth About Mormon Employment Discrimination

Jeff Breinholt Mormon 50 Comments

Religious discrimination in the workplace is barred in the United States.  It has been that way since the 1960s.  This prohibition is across the board, and applies whether the employer is a public or private entity.  If you discriminate against your employees on the basis of religion, you could easily end up as a defendant in federal court, sued under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  Many states have anti-discrimination laws as well.

Of course, we know about the persecution of Mormons in the 19th Century and the Jehovah’s Witnesses in the 1930s and ’40s.  We also know that the Seventh-Day Adventists honor the Sabbath on Saturday, which sometimes causes employment problems for them.  Given this history, we could expect that these religions would be the natural beneficiaries of the federal workplace discrimination remedies.

Guess again.

I counted 257 written employment discrimination opinions involving the Mormons, the Seventh-Day Adventists, and the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Here is a chart showing how this numbers break down among them.

employment-chart1

I counted 104 opinions involving Adventists [1], 90 involving Jehovah’s Witnesses [2], and 63 involving Mormons [3].   So far, so good.   No real surprises here.

However, what the chart above does not tell you is the direction of these cases.   By “direction,” I mean who is the plaintiff and who is the defendant. Huh?  In employment discrimination cases, is there any doubt that Mormons, Jehovah’s Witness, Seventh-Day Adventists would generally be plaintiffs rather than defendants? After all, they are minority religions in America. One would think …

As I said, guess again.

Here is another chart, which shows the number of written opinions in employment discrimination, dividing between whether the particular religion is represented by the plaintiff or the defendant.

employment-chart2

The Mormons, it seems, have crossed over. Far from being a persecuted minority, they are now more likely to be defendants in employment discrimination controversies, at least judging by those complaints that have resulted in written opinions (and there is no reason to think these opinions are not representative of all cases.)  In these matters, Mormons are not the aggrieved. They have become … The Man.

Of the 63 cases involving Mormons, 41 of them involved Mormons who were defendants, which is far more than those in which they were plaintiffs [4]. This is not yet true of the Adventists, despite their being an increasingly large employer with all their hospitals and schools.   The Adventists were defendants in 29 opinions out of their 104 [5].   It is even less true with the Jehovah’s Witnesses – only seven cases out of 90 [6].

When did this first start to happen?  Rather than engage in some elaborate changepoint analysis, let’s settle for an estimate. Here is a breakdown of the Mormon employment discrimination cases by decade:

employment-chart3

It appears that the disparity between Mormon plaintiffs and Mormon defendants in the employment discrimination grew in the 1990s (and shrunk somewhat in the 2000s).   In some ways this is not surprising, given that the Mormon Church was responsible for the Supreme Court decision in the late 1980s which established that churches are immune from Title VII liability.  The case involved a non-Mormon custodian at the Deseret Gym, who chafed under the new requirement that all employees maintain a Temple recommend.  He sued for discrimination and won at the trial level [7], only to have the Supreme Court reverse, concluding that even the profit-making arms of religious institutions are not prohibited from discriminating against non-members [8].

Given that churches are now generally not sued themselves for employment discrimination, the “Mormon defendant” employment cases typically involve individual Mormons who are so concentrated in particular non-religious workplaces that they are allegedly able to practice discrimination against non-Mormons.   The cases in this category involve both private employers and government offices.   These cases are not limited to Utah.   They include the FBI [9], Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico [10], a county government in California [11], and private workplaces in Washington, Colorado, Idaho, Oregon, Michigan, Texas and Pennsylvania [12].

Even anecdotally, there are signs that the Mormons can be quite harsh towards non-members in the workplace, assuming the workplace in question is sufficiently filled with fellow Mormons or the individual Mormon supervisor is adequately powerful.   Interesting, there are a few cases in which active Mormons discriminated against fellow Mormons they felt were not keeping the standards (which I treated as Mormon defendant cases).   A Mormon woman in Wyoming argued that her teaching contract was not renewed because she lived as a single mother in a trailer home and played cards [13].   A Mormon physician’s assistant in Idaho claimed she was punished because her addiction to prescription drugs was un-Mormon-like [14].   An LDS man started getting bad evaluations when he got divorced and started dating a Seventh-Day Adventist [15].   Gentile employees have complained about the overly LDS atmosphere at Franklin-Covey [16].

There is also the less-harsh conduct that, even if less shocking, is just plain annoying.  The following excerpt summarizing allegations from one such case might be familiar to non-Mormons who live in Utah:

The “religiously hostile environment” alleged by Carmody involved incidents of “bickering and division” among employees that divided along religious lines, those who were LDS and those who were not. … According to Carmody’s testimony, employees would have discussions about “lifestyles,” moral versus immoral, the desire by a Mormon employee’s brother to only rent an apartment to a member of the Church, the desire by a Mormon employee to not have to work on Sundays, the feeling by non-LDS employees that they were being “judged” by the Mormon employees, “the LDS factor” was continually brought up in conversation and comments would be made by various LDS members in the Store such as “I can’t believe you were drinking.” [17]

These findings raise the inevitable question, which I cannot answer: given the growth in Mormon defendant employment discrimination cases, why is this not happening to the same extent with the Adventists and the Jehovah’s Witnesses?
_______________

[1] The 104 Adventist employment discrimination case, in chronological order, are Gray v. Gulf, M. & O. R. Co., 429 F.2d 1064 (5th Cir. 1970); Greater New York Corp of Seventh Day Adventists v. Comn on Human, 27 N.Y.2d 898, 317 N.Y.S.2d 368 (N.Y. 1970); Corey v. Avco-Lycoming Division, Avco Corp., 163 Conn. 309, 307 A.2d 155 (Conn. 1972); Scott v. Southern California Gas Co., 1973 WL 328 (C.D. Cal. 1973); U.S. v. City of Albuquerque, 423 F.Supp. 591 (D.N.M. 1975); E.E.O.C. v. Pacific Press Pub. Ass’n,1975 WL 198 (N.D. Cal. 1975); Reid v. Memphis Pub. Co., 521 F.2d 512 (6th Cir. 1975); Whitney v. Greater New York Corp. of Seventh-Day Adventists, 401 F.Supp. 1363 (S.D.N.Y. 1975); Wondzell v. Alaska Wood Products, Inc., 1975 WL 3217 (Alaska Super. 1975); E.E.O.C. v. Pacific Press Pub. Ass’n, 535 F.2d 1182 (9th Cir. 1976); U.S. v. City of Albuquerque, 545 F.2d 110 (10th Cir. 1976); E.E.O.C. v. Howard Johnson Co., 1977 WL 60 (S.D. Ala. 1977); Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Bailey Co., Inc., 563 F.2d 439 (6th Cir. 1977); Bald v. RCA Alascom,569 P.2d 1328 (Alaska 1977); Burns v. Southern Pac. Transp. Co.
589 F.2d 403 (9th Cir. 1978); Padon v. White, 465 F.Supp. 602 (S.D. Tex. 1979); U.S. v. Hawaii County, 473 F.Supp. 261 (D. Haw. 1979; Tooley v. Martin-Marietta Corp., 476 F.Supp. 1027 (D. Or. 1979); E.E.O.C. (U.S.A.) v. Pacific Press Pub. Ass’n, 482 F.Supp. 1291 (N.D. Cal. 1979); McDaniel v. Essex Intern., Inc., 509 F.Supp. 1055 (W.D..Mich. 1981); Tooley v. Martin-Marietta Corp., 648 F.2d 1239 (9th Cir. 1981); .E.E.O.C. v. Pacific Press Pub. Ass’n,676 F.2d 1272 (9th Cir. 1982); Mann v. Milgram Food Stores, Inc.,730 F.2d 1186 (8th Cir. 1984); Anderson v. Phelps, 655 F.Supp. 560 (M.D.La. 1985); Rayburn v. General Conference of Seventh-Day Adventists, 772 F.2d 1164 (4th Cir. 1985); E.E.O.C. v. Chrysler Corp.,652 F.Supp. 1523 (N.D.Ohio 1987); Howard v. Pine Forge Academy, Pine Forge, Pa., 678 F.Supp. 1120 (E.D.Pa. 1987); Mathewson v. Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Com’n,693 F.Supp. 1044 (M.D.Fla. 1988); Lewis v. Lake Region Conference of Seventh Day Adventists, 779 F.Supp. 72 (E.D.Mich. 1991);.Wright v. Frank,1992 WL 521773 (E.D.Wis. 1992);
Moreman v. Georgia Power Co.,1992 WL 512351 (N.D.Ga. 1992); Wright v. Runyon, 2 F.3d 214 (7th Cir. 1993); Felt v. Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Ry. Co., 831 F.Supp. 780 (C.D.Cal. 1993); Beadle v. City of Tampa, Fla, 1993 WL 771045 (M.D.Fla. 1993); Burns-Toole v. Byrne,11 F.3d 1270 (5th Cir. 1994); New York City Transit Authority v. State, Executive Dept., Div.,211 A.D.2d 220, 627 N.Y.S.2d 360 (N.Y.A.D. 1995); Pierce v. Iowa-Missouri Conference of Seventh-Day Adventists, 534 N.W.2d 425 (Iowa 1995); Opuku-Boateng v. State of Cal., 95 F.3d 1461 (9th Cir. 1996); Tincher v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 118 F.3d 1125 (7th Cir. 1997); Sanders v. Women’s Treatment Center, 9 F.Supp.2d 929 (N.D.Ill. 1998); Turner v. Chicago S.D.A. Academy, 1998 WL 808993 (N.D.Ill. 1998); E.E.O.C. v. Union Independiente de la Autoridad de Acueductos, 30 F.Supp.2d 217 (D.P.R. 1998); Clapper v. Chesapeake Conference of Seventh-Day Adventists, 166 F.3d 1208 (4th Cir. 1998); Van Cleve v. Nordstrom, Inc., 64 F.Supp.2d 459 (E.D.Pa. 1999); Franks v. Natl. Lime & Stone Co., 138 Ohio App.3d 124, 740 N.E.2d 694 (Ohio App. 3 Dist. 2000); Durant v. Nynex, 101 F.Supp.2d 227 (S.D.N.Y. 2000); Rochester v. Blue Cross and Blue Shield, 2000 WL 1052064 (E.D.N.Y. 2000); E.E.O.C. v. Union Independiente de la Autoridad de Acueductos, 103 F.Supp.2d 480 (D.P.R. 2000); Singla v. Adventist Health Partners, Inc., 2001 WL 138905 (N.D.Ill. 2001); McCandless v. Health Care at Home Plus, 2001 WL 62862 (N.D.Ill. 2001); Allen v. U.S. Postal Service, 4 Fed.Appx. 894 (Fed. Cir. 2001); Mayers v. Washington Adventist Hosp., 131 F.Supp.2d 743 (D.Md. 2001); Stone v. West, 133 F.Supp.2d 972 (E.D.Mich. 2001); E.E.O.C. v. Union Independiente de la Autoridad de Acueductos, 279 F.3d 49 (1st Cir. 2002); E.E.O.C. v. Dalfort Aerospace, L.P.2002 WL 255486(N.D.Tex. 2002); Bryce v. Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Colorado,289 F.3d 648 (10th Cir. 2002); Griffin-Baez v. The Institute for Responsible Fatherhood, 2002 WL 1143738 (S.D.N.Y. 2002); E.E.O.C. v. Delta Airlines, Inc., 2002 WL 1447582 (E.D.N.Y. 2002); Gilpin v. Phillip Morris Intern., Inc., 2002 WL 1461433 (S.D.N.Y. 2002); Rose v. Potter, , 2002 WL 31738799 (N.D.Ill. 2002); Cardone v. Pereze, 57 Mass.App.Ct. 1103, 781 N.E.2d 70 (Mass.App.Ct. 2003).Martin v. Enterprise Rent-a-Car, 2003 WL 187432 (E.D.Pa. 2003); Vaughn v. Waffle House, Inc., 263 F.Supp.2d 1075 ((N.D.Tex. 2003); Jensen v. Walla Walla College, 117 Wash.App. 1033, 2003 WL 21404553 (Wash.App. Div. 3 2003); Reyes v. New York State Office of Children and Family Services, 2003 WL 21709407 (S.D.N.Y. 2003); O’Brien v. City of Springfield, 319 F.Supp.2d 90 (D.Mass. 2003); Rose v. Potter, 90 Fed.Appx. 951 (7th Cir. 2004); Cuellar v. House of Doolittle, Ltd., 2004 WL 1718417 (N.D.Ill 2004); Kidd v. Greyhound Lines, Inc., 2005 WL 3988832 (E.D.Va. 2005); Douglas v. Eastman Kodak Co, 373 F.Supp.2d 218 (W.D.N.Y. 2005); Rice v. U.S.F. Holland, Inc., 410 F.Supp.2d 1301 (N.D.Ga. 2005); Filinovich v. Claar, 2005 WL 2709284 (N.D.Ill. 2005); Gent v. Pride Ambulance Co., 2006 WL 66420 (Mich.App. 2006); Molina Viera v. Yacoub, 425 F.Supp.2d 202 (D.P.R.  006); Stephens v. Kettering Adventist Healthcare, 182 Fed.Appx. 418 (6th Cir. 2006); Richardson v. Dougherty County, Ga, 185 Fed.Appx. 785 (11th Cir. 2006); Filinovich v. Claar, Not Reported in F.Supp.2d, 2006 WL 1994580 (N.D.Ill. 2006); Jones v. Bellsouth, 2006 WL 1994881 (S.D.Miss. 2006); Morrissette-Brown v. Mobile Infirmary Medical Center, 2006 WL 1999133 (S.D.Ala. 2006); Pressley v. Northeastern Conference of Seventh-Day Adventists, 2006 WL 2482435 (E.D.N.Y. 2006);  Sturgill v. United Parcel Service, Inc., 2006 WL 2596080 (W.D.Ark. 2006);  Smith v. Forster and Garbus, 2006 WL 2711602 (E.D.N.Y. 2006); Redhead v. Conference of Seventh-Day Adventists, 2006 WL 2729035 (E.D.N.Y. 2006); Sturgill v. United Parcel Service, Inc., 2006 WL 3147665(W.D.Ark. 2006); Madson v. Western Oregon Conference Ass’n of Seventh-Day Adventists, 209 Or.App. 380, 149 P.3d 217 (Or.App. 2006); Ludwig v. IPC Print Services, Inc., Not Reported in N.W.2d, 2007 WL 466133 (Mich.App. 2007); Newton v. Potter, Not Reported in F.Supp.2d, 2007 WL 1035002 (D.S.C. 2007); Walker v. H. Councill Trenholm State Technical College, 2007 WL 1140423 (M.D.Ala. 2007); Davis v. AltaCare Corp., 2007 WL 2026438 (S.D.Miss. 2007); 90 Ford v. City of Dallas, Tex., 2007 WL 2051016 (N.D.Tex. 2007); Wilburn v. Y.M.C.A. of Greater Indianapolis (Ransburg Branch), 2007 WL 2752391 (S.D.Ind. 2007); Howard v. Life Care Centers of America, of Tennessee, 2007 WL 5023585 (M.D.Fla. 2007);  Morrissette-Brown v. Mobile Infirmary Medical Center, 506 F.3d 1317 (11th Cir. 2007); Robinson v. Adventist Health System, 259 Fed.Appx. 245 (11th Cir. 2007); Leonce v. Callahan, 2008 WL 58892 (N.D.Tex. 2008); Sturgill v. United Parcel Service, Inc., 512 F.3d 1024 (8th Cir. 2008); Pipkins v. Service Corp. Intern.; Not Reported in F.Supp.2d, 2008 WL 1869737 (E.D.Tenn. 2008); Ellington v. Murray Energy Corp., 2008 WL 2019549 (D.Utah 2008); Redhead v. Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, 566 F.Supp.2d 125 (E.D.N.Y.,2008); Jones v. United Parcel Service, Inc., 2008 WL 2627675 (N.D.Tex. 2008); and Jones v. United Parcel Service, Inc., 307 Fed.Appx. 864 (5th Cir. 2009).

[2] The 90 Jehovah’s Witnesses employment discrimination cases, in chronological order, are Bacher v. City of North Ridgeville, 47 Ohio App.2d 164, 352 N.E.2d 627 (Ohio App. 1975); Redmond v. GAF Corp., 574 F.2d 897 (7th Cir. 1978); Gavin v. Peoples Natural Gas Co., 464 F.Supp. 622 (W.D. Pa. 1979); Palmer v. Board of Ed. of City of Chicago, 466 F.Supp. 600 (N.D. Ill. 1979); Palmer v. Board of Ed. of City of Chicago, 603 F.2d 1271 (7th Cir. 1979); Gavin v. Peoples Natural Gas Co., 613 F.2d 482 (3rd Cir. 1980); .Kinniburgh v. Burlington Northern R. Co., 568 F.Supp. 655 (D. Mont. 1983); Bottini v. Sadore Management Corp., 764 F.2d 116 (2nd Cir. 1985); New Hanover Human Relations Com’n v. Pilot Freight Carriers, Inc., 83 N.C.App. 662, 351 S.E.2d 560 (N.C.App.1987); E.E.O.C. v. Chrysler Corp., 652 F.Supp. 1523 (N.D.Ohio 1987); Bottini v. Sadore Management Corp., 1987 WL 16147 (S.D.N.Y. 1987); Kentucky Com’n on Human Rights v. Lesco Mfg. & Design Co., Inc., 736 S.W.2d 361 (Ky.App. 1987); Diffay v. American Tel. and Tel. Co. 1988 WL 53209 (N.D.Ill. 1988); Darden v. Dandridge, 1988 WL 126527 ((D.D.C. 1988); Bottini v. Sadore Management, Corp., 1988 WL 78377 (S.D.N.Y. 1988); Bielert v. Northern Ohio Properties, 863 F.2d 47 (6th Cir. 1988); Jones v. Jones Bros. Const. Co., Not Reported in F.Supp., 1988 WL 142242 (N.D.Ill. 1988); Jones v. Jones Bros. Const. Corp.,879 F.2d 295 (7th Cir. 1989); E.E.O.C. v. Hacienda Hotel, 881 F.2d 1504 (9th Cir. 1989); 20 White v. Baxter Healthcare Corp., 1990 WL 114478 (N.D.Ill. 1990); Bowdish v. Continental Accessories, Inc., 1991 WL 519742 (W.D.Mich. 1991); Sullivan v. Continental Accessories, Inc., 1991 WL 420042 (W.D.Mich. 1991); Darden v. Dandridge, 1991 WL 111439 (D.D.C. 1991); Bowdish v. Continental Accessories, Inc., 966 F.2d 1451 (6th Cir. 1992); Jones v. Memorial Medical Center, Inc., 1992 WL 370803 (S.D.Ga. 1992); Miner v. City of Glens Falls, 999 F.2d 655 (2nd Cir. 1993); Powell v. Rice, 5 F.3d 1494 (5th Cir. 1993); Currie v. Kowalewski, 842 F.Supp. 57 (N.D.N.Y. 1994); Kelly v. Municipal Court of Marion County 852 F.Supp. 724 (S.D.Ind. 1994); Russell v. Acme-Evans Co., 881 F.Supp. 378 (S.D.Ind. 1994); Featherstone v. United Parcel Service, Inc., 1994 WL 504804 (D.Md. 1994); Johnson v. Office of Senate Fair Employment Practices, 35 F.3d 1566 (Fed. Cir. 1994); Lane v. Hughes Aircraft Co., Inc., 40 Cal.Rptr.2d 97 (Cal.Super. 1994); Brewer v. J.A. Peterson Realty Co. of Kansas, Inc., 1994 WL 731520 (D.Kan. 1994); Featherstone v. U.P. Services, Inc., 56 F.3d 61 (4th Cir. 1995);Kelly v. Municipal Courts of Marion County, Ind., 97 F.3d 902 (7th Cir. 1996); Engstrom v. Kinney System, Inc., 241 A.D.2d 420, 661 N.Y.S.2d 610 (N.Y.A.D. 1997); Soto v. Bronx Lebanon Hosp., 1997 WL 452028 (S.D.N.Y. 1997);Banks v. Babbitt, 163 F.3d 605 (9th Cir. 1998); 40 Silas-Blumenberg v. J.C. Penney, 1999 WL 1046411 (N.D.Ill. 1999); Weber v. Roadway Exp., Inc., 199 F.3d 270 (5th Cir. 2000); Bremiller v. Cleveland Psychiatric Institute, 195 F.R.D. 1 (N.D.Ohio 2000); Prunella v. Carlshire Tenants, Inc., 94 F.Supp.2d 512 (S.D.N.Y. 2000); Stephen v. Maximum Sec. & Investigations, Inc., Not Reported in F.Supp.2d, 2000 WL 1774849 (S.D.N.Y. 2000); Parmlee v. State of Connecticut Dept. of Revenue Services, 160 F.Supp.2d 294 (D.Conn. 2001); Brantley v. Bassfield, 2001 WL 1175085 (D.Kan. 2001); Bushouse v. Local Union 2209, United Auto., Aerospace, 164 F.Supp.2d 1066 (N.D.Ind.,2001); King v. U.S. Postal Service, 2002 WL 1067825 (S.D.N.Y. 2002); Mason v. Bio-Rad Laboratories, 2002 WL 1419930 (Cal.App. 1 Dist 2002); Lawson v. Washington, 296 F.3d 799 (9th Cir. 2002); Thompson v. Jasas Corp., 212 F.Supp.2d 21 (D.D.C. 2002); Rossi v. Troy State University 330 F.Supp.2d 1240 (M.D.Ala. 2002); Murray v. Kaiser Permanente, 52 Fed.Appx. 725 (6th Cir. 2002); Pedroza v. Cintas Corp., 2003 WL 828237 (W.D.Mo. 2003); Watson v. Adecco Employment Services, Inc., 252 F.Supp.2d 1347 (M.D.Fla. 2003); Velez-Sotomayor v. Progreso Cash and Carry, Inc., 279 F.Supp.2d 65 (D.P.R. 2003); Limon v. City of Liberal, Kansas, 2003 WL 21659655 (D.Kan. 2003); Richardson v. Metropolitan Dist. Com’n, 2003 WL 21727781 (D.Conn. 2003); Scott v. Falcon Transport Co., 2003 WL 22939464 (Ohio App. 7 Dist. 2003); 60 Diaz v. Weill Medical Center of Cornell University, 2004 WL 285947 (S.D.N.Y. 2004); Nichols v. Caroline County Bd. of Educ., 2004 WL 350337 (D.Md. 2004); Meraz v. Jo-Ann Stores, Inc., 2004 WL 882458 (C.D.Cal. 2004); Johnson v. Spencer Press of Maine, Inc., 364 F.3d 368 (1st Cir. 2004); California Fair Employment and Housing Com’n v. Gemini Aluminum, 122 Cal.App.4th 1004, 18 Cal.Rptr.3d 906 (Cal.App. 2 Dist. 2004); Chan v. Sprint Corp., 351 F.Supp.2d 1197 (D.Kan 2005); Pedroza v. Cintas Corp. No. 2, 397 F.3d 1063 (8th Cir. 2005); Wheeler v. Voicestream Wireless Services, Not Reported in F.Supp.2d, 2005 WL 1240797 (M.D.Pa. 2005); Derusha v. Detroit Jewish News & Style Magazine, 132 Fed.Appx. 629 (6th Cir. 2005); Reddicks v. Pacific Maritime Ass’n, 2005 WL 1838632 (W.D.Wash. 2005); Aportela v. Barnhart 2005 WL 1958963 (W.D.Tex. 2005); Matos v. PNC Financial Services Group, 2005 WL 2656675 (D.N.J. 2005); Carter v. Diamondback Golf Club, Inc., 2006 WL 229304 (M.D.Fla. 2006); E.E.O.C. v. Dresser-Rand Co., 2006 WL 1994792 (W.D.N.Y. 2006); Crawford v. New York Life Ins. Co., 2006 WL 2792779 (E.D.N.Y. 2006); Jackson v. Light of Life Ministries, Inc., 2006 WL 2974162 (W.D.Pa. 2006); Wright v. Lowe’s Home Centers, Inc., 2006 WL 3694607 (E.D.Mich. 2006); Edwards v. Creoks Mental Health Services, Inc. 505 F.Supp.2d 1080 (N.D.Okla. 2007); Barnes v. Federal Exp. Corp., 2007 WL 405686 (E.D. Mich. 1997); Richardson v. JM Smith Corp., 473 F.Supp.2d 1317 (M.D.Ga. 2007); 80 Smoke v. National Elec. Carbon Products, Inc., 2007 WL 465574 (M.D.Pa. 2007); Griffin v. Scottsdale Unified School Dist. No. 48, 2007 WL 552216 (D.Ariz. 2007); DeRusha v. Detroit Jewish News and Style Magazine, 2007 WL 778488 (E.D.Mich. 2007); Jones v. General Motors Corp., 2007 WL 1023859 (S.D.Ohio 2007); Jackson v. Potter, 240 Fed.Appx. 136 (7th Cir. 2007); Marchant v. Tsickritzis, 506 F.Supp.2d 63 (D.Mass. 2007); Bush v. Regis Corp., 257 Fed.Appx. 219 (11th Cir. 2007); Drewery v. Mervyns Dept. Store, 2007 WL 4561099 (W.D.Wash. 2007); E.E.O.C. v. Southwestern Bell Telephone, L.P.,550 F.3d 704 (8th Cir. 2008); Faison v. Leonard St., LLC, Slip Copy, 2009 WL 636724 (S.D.N.Y. 2009); and Pledger v. Mayview Convalescent Home, Inc., Slip Copy, 2009 WL 1010428 (E.D.N.C. 2009).

[3] The Mormon employment discrimination cases are Stoddard v. School Dist. No. 1, Lincoln County, Wyo., 590 F.2d 829 (10th Cir. 1979); Larsen v. Kirkham, 499 F.Supp. 960 (D. Utah 1980); Manale v. City of New Orleans, Dept. of Police, 673 F.2d 122 (5th Cir. 1982); Lanyon v. University of Delaware, 544 F.Supp. 1262 (D. Del. 1982); Amos v. Corporation of Presiding Bishop of Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, 594 F.Supp. 791 (D. Utah 1984); Potter v. Murray City, 585 F.Supp. 1126 (D. Utah 1984); Garfield v. U.S. 6 Cl.Ct. 54 (Cl Ct. 1984); Potter v. Murray City, 760 F.2d 1065 (10th Cir. 1985); Amos v. Corporation of Presiding Bishop of Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, 618 F.Supp. 1013 (D. Utah 1985); Ninth & O Street Baptist Church v. E.E.O.C., 633 F.Supp. 229 (W.D.Ky. 1986); Corporation of Presiding Bishop of Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, v. Amos, 483 U.S. 327, 107 S.Ct. 2862 (1987); Mitchell v. Frank R. Howard Memorial Hosp., 853 F.2d 762 (9th Cir 1988); Perez v. F.B.I., 707 F.Supp. 891 (W.D.Tex. 1988); Summers v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co, 864 F.2d 700 (10th Cir. 1988); Barlow v. Blackburn, 165 Ariz. 351, 798 P.2d 1360 (Ariz.App. 1990); Shapolia v. Los Alamos Nat. Laboratory, 773 F.Supp. 304 (D.N.M. 1991); Shapolia v. Los Alamos Nat. Laboratory, 992 F.2d 1033 (10th Cir. 1993); Shapolia v. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, 13 F.3d 406 (10th Cir. 1993); Sudtelgte v. Reno, 1994 WL 3406 (W.D.Mo. 1994); 20 Barlow v. Blackburn, 38 F.3d 1218 (9th Cir. 1994); DeVore v. IHC Hospitals, Inc., 884 P.2d 1246 (Utah 1994); Luce v. Dalton,166 F.R.D. 457 (S.D.Cal. 1996); Scott v. County of Lake 1996 WL 479043 (N.D.Cal. 1996); Peterson v. Minidoka County School Dist. No. 331, 118 F.3d 1351 (9th Cir. 1997); Horvath v. Savage Mfg., Inc., 18 F.Supp.2d 1296 (D. Utah 1998); Nielson v. AgriNorthwest, 95 Wash.App. 571, 977 P.2d 613 (Wash.App. Div. 3 1999); Soto v. Corporation of Presiding Bishop of Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, 73 F.Supp.2d 116 (D.P.R.1999); King v. Healthrider, Inc., 194 F.3d 1312 (6th Cir. 1999); Garfield v. Department of Health and Human Services, 230 F.3d 1378 (Fed. Cir. 2000); Johnson v. Express Rent & Own, Inc., 98 Wash.App. 1066, 2000 WL 48534 (Wash.App. Div. 2 2000); Galloway v. Alltel Communications, Inc., 2001 WL 34149071 (N.D.Iowa 2001); Erdmann v. Tranquility Inc., 155 F.Supp.2d 1152 (N.D.Cal. 2001); Thompson v. St. Johns Unified School Dist., 26 Fed.Appx. 712 (9th Cir. 2002); Bryce v. Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Colorado, 289 F.3d 648 (10th Cir. 2002); Black v. Premier Co., 2002 WL 1471717 (E.D.Pa. 2002); Black v. Premier Co., 2002 WL 31045854 (E.D.Pa. 2002); Black v. Premier Co., 2002 WL 32122658 (E.D.Pa. 2002); Gee v. Dallas, 2002 WL 31627253 (N.D.Tex. 2002); Olsen v. Idaho State Bd. of Medicine, 363 F.3d 916 (9th Cir. 2004); Korslund v. Dyncorp Tri-Cities Services, Inc., 121 Wash.App. 295, 88 P.3d 966 (Wash.App. Div. 3 2004); Cook v. Corporation of President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, 121 Fed.Appx. 326 (10th Cir. 2005); Griffith v. Schnitzer Steel Industries, Inc., 128 Wash.App. 438, 115 P.3d 1065 (Wash.App. Div. 2 2005); Knudsen ex rel. Estate of Knudsen v. City of Tacoma, 2005 WL 3418413 (W.D.Wash. 2005); Ashford v. City of Lake Ozark, Mo., 2006 WL 222124 (W.D.Mo. 2006); Norton v. FirstEnergy Corp., Not Reported in N.E.2d, 2006 WL 459266 (Ohio App. 7 Dist. 2006); Barcikowski v. Sun Microsystems, Inc., 420 F.Supp.2d 1163 (D.Colo. 2006); Carmody v. Bed Bath & Beyond, 2006 WL 1128216 (D.Idaho 2006); Hinds v. Sprint/United Management Co., 2006 WL 3715905 (D.Kan. 2006); Gee v. Kempthorne, , 2007 WL 317051 (D.Idaho 2007); Eberhardt v. First Centrum, LLC, 2007 WL 518896 (E.D.Mich. 2007); Pangerl v. Ehrlich, 2007 WL 686703 (D.Ariz. 2007); Tipnis v. Emery Telephone, 2007 WL 1306495 (D.Colo. 2007); Moore v. Avon Products, Inc., 2007 WL 2900204 (N.D.Cal. 2007); Jordan v. County of Clark, 253 Fed.Appx. 694 (9th Cir. 2007); Tudor Delcey v. A-Dec, Inc., 2008 WL 123855 (D.Or. 2008); Cutter v. RailAmerica, Inc., 2008 WL 163016 (D.Colo. 2008); DeFrietas v. Horizon Inv. & Management Corp.,  2008 WL 204473 (D.Utah 2008); Alawi v. Sprint Nextel Corp., 544 F.Supp.2d 1171 (W.D.Wash. 2008); Ford v. Flannery, 2008 WL 821686 (N.D.Ind. 2008); Dolgaleva v. Virginia Beach City Public Schools, 541 F.Supp.2d 817 (E.D.Va. 2008); Stewart v. Arizona, 2007 WL 1876381 (D.Ariz. 2007); Webb v. ATK Thiokol Inc., Slip Copy, 2009 WL 2043853 (D.Utah 2009); and DeFreitas v. Horizon Inv. Management Corp., — F.3d —-, 2009 WL 2482030 (10th Cir. 2009).

[4] The “Mormon defendant” employment discrimination cases are Stoddard v. School Dist. No. 1, Lincoln County, Wyo., 590 F.2d 829 (10th Cir. 1979); Larsen v. Kirkham, 499 F.Supp. 960 (D. Utah 1980); Lanyon v. University of Delaware, 544 F.Supp. 1262 (D. Del. 1982); Amos v. Corporation of Presiding Bishop of Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, 594 F.Supp. 791 (D. Utah 1984); Amos v. Corporation of Presiding Bishop of Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, 618 F.Supp. 1013 (D. Utah 1985); Corporation of Presiding Bishop of Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints v. Amos, 483 U.S. 327, 107 S.Ct. 2862 (1987); Perez v. F.B.I., 707 F.Supp. 891 (W.D.Tex. 1988); Shapolia v. Los Alamos Nat. Laboratory, 773 F.Supp. 304 (D.N.M. 1991); Shapolia v. Los Alamos Nat. Laboratory, 992 F.2d 1033 (10th Cir. 1993); Shapolia v. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, 13 F.3d 406 (10th Cir. 1993); Sudtelgte v. Reno, 1994 WL 3406 (W.D.Mo.,1994); DeVore v. IHC Hospitals, Inc., 884 P.2d 1246 (Utah 1994); Luce v. Dalton, 166 F.R.D. 457 (S.D.Cal. 1996); Scott v. County of Lake, 1996 WL 479043 (N.D.Cal. 1996); Horvath v. Savage Mfg., Inc., 18 F.Supp.2d 1296 (D.Utah 1998); Nielson v. AgriNorthwest, 95 Wash.App. 571, 977 P.2d 613 (Wash.App. Div. 3 1999); Soto v. Corporation of Presiding Bishop of Church of Jesus Christ, 73 F.Supp.2d 116 (D.P.R. 1999); King v. Healthrider, Inc., 194 F.3d 1312 (6th Cir. 1999); Erdmann v. Tranquility Inc., 155 F.Supp.2d 1152 (N.D.Cal. 2001); Thompson v. St. Johns Unified School Dist., 26 Fed.Appx. 712 (9th Cir. 2002); Bryce v. Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Colorado, 289 F.3d 648 (10th Cir. 2002); Black v. Premier Co., 2002 WL 1471717 (E.D.Pa. 2002); Black v. Premier Co., 2002 WL 31045854 (E.D.Pa.,2002);
Black v. Premier Co., 2002 WL 32122658 (E.D.Pa. 2002); Gee v. Dallas, 2002 WL 31627253 (N.D.Tex. 2002); Olsen v. Idaho State Bd. of Medicine, 363 F.3d 916 (9th Cir. 2004); Korslund v. Dyncorp Tri-Cities Services, Inc., 121 Wash.App. 295, 88 P.3d 966 (Wash.App. Div. 3 2004); Cook v. Corporation of President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, 121 Fed.Appx. 326 (10th Cir. 2005); Knudsen ex rel. Estate of Knudsen v. City of Tacoma, 2005 WL 3418413 (W.D.Wash. 2005); Barcikowski v. Sun Microsystems, Inc., 420 F.Supp.2d 1163 (D.Colo. 2006); Carmody v. Bed Bath & Beyond, 2006 WL 1128216 (D.Idaho 2006); Eberhardt v. First Centrum, LLC, 2007 WL 518896 ((E.D.Mich. 2007); Tipnis v. Emery Telephone, 2007 WL 1306495 (D.Colo. 2007); Moore v. Avon Products, Inc., 2007 WL 2900204 (N.D.Cal. 2007);. Tudor Delcey v. A-Dec, Inc., 2008 WL 123855 (D.Or. 2008);. DeFrietas v. Horizon Inv. & Management Corp., 2008 WL 204473 (D.Utah 2008);.Alawi v. Sprint Nextel Corp., 544 F.Supp.2d 1171 (W.D.Wash. 2008); Stewart v. Arizona, 2007 WL 1876381 (D.Ariz. 2007); Webb v. ATK Thiokol Inc., Slip Copy, 2009 WL 2043853 (D.Utah 2009); and DeFreitas v. Horizon Inv. Management Corp., — F.3d —-, 2009 WL 2482030 (10th Cir. 2009).

[5] The “Adventist defendant” employment discrimination cases are Greater New York Corp of Seventh Day Adventists v. Comn on Human, 27 N.Y.2d 898, 317 N.Y.S.2d 368 (N.Y. 1970); E.E.O.C. v. Pacific Press Pub. Ass’n,1975 WL 198 (C.D. Cal. 1975); Whitney v. Greater New York Corp. of Seventh-Day Adventists, 401 F.Supp. 1363 (S.D.N.Y. 1975); E.E.O.C. v. Pacific Press Pub. Ass’n, 535 F.2d 1182 (9th Cir. 1976); E.E.O.C. (U.S.A.) v. Pacific Press Pub. Ass’n, 482 F.Supp. 1291 (C.D.Cal. 1979); E.E.O.C. v. Pacific Press Pub. Ass’n, 676 F.2d 1272 (9th Cir. 1982); Rayburn v. General Conference of Seventh-Day Adventists, 772 F.2d 1164 (4th Cir. 1985);;Howard v. Pine Forge Academy, Pine Forge, Pa., 678 F.Supp. 1120 (E.D.Pa. 1987); Lewis v. Lake Region Conference of Seventh Day Adventists, 779 F.Supp. 72 (E.D.Mich. 1991); Pierce v. Iowa-Missouri Conference of Seventh-Day Adventists, 534 N.W.2d 425 (Iowa 1995); Turner v. Chicago S.D.A. Academy, 1998 WL 808993 (N.D.Ill. 1998); Clapper v. Chesapeake Conference of Seventh-Day Adventists, 166 F.3d 1208 (4th Cir. 1998); Singla v. Adventist Health Partners, Inc., 2001 WL 138905 (N.D.Ill. 2001); McCandless v. Health Care at Home Plus, 2001 WL 62862, (N.D.Ill.,2001); Mayers v. Washington Adventist Hosp., 131 F.Supp.2d 743 (D.Md. 2001); Bryce v. Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Colorado, 289 F.3d 648 (10th Cir. 2002); Griffin-Baez v. The Institute for Responsible Fatherhood, 2002 WL 1143738 (S.D.N.Y. 2002); Cardone v. Pereze, 57 Mass.App.Ct. 1103, 781 N.E.2d 70 (Mass.App.Ct. 2003); Jensen v. Walla Walla College 117 Wash.App. 1033, 2003 WL 21404553 (Wash.App. Div. 3 2003); Reyes v. New York State Office of Children and Family Services 2003 WL 21709407 (S.D.N.Y. 2003); O’Brien v. City of Springfield, 319 F.Supp.2d 90 (D.Mass. 2003); Stephens v. Kettering Adventist Healthcare,182 Fed.Appx. 418 (6th Cir. 2006); Pressley v. Northeastern Conference of Seventh-Day Adventists, 2006 WL 2482435(E.D.N.Y. 2006); Redhead v. Conference of Seventh-Day Adventists, 2006 WL 2729035 (E.D.N.Y 2006); Madson v. Western Oregon Conference Ass’n of Seventh-Day Adventists, 209 Or.App. 380, 149 P.3d 217 (Or.App. 2006); Davis v. AltaCare Corp., 2007 WL 2026438 (S.D.Miss. 2007); Robinson v. Adventist Health System, 259 Fed.Appx. 245 (11th Cir. 2007); Redhead v. Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, 566 F.Supp.2d 125 (E.D.N.Y. 2008); and Williamson v. Adventist Health System/Sunbelt, Inc., Slip Copy, 2009 WL 1393471 (M.D.Fla 2009).

[6] The Jehovah’s defendant employment discrimination cases are Bielert v. Northern Ohio Properties, 863 F.2d 47 (6th Cir. 1988); Jones v. Jones Bros. Const. Co., 1988 WL 142242 (N.D.Ill. 1988); Jones v. Jones Bros. Const. Corp., 879 F.2d 295 (7th Cir. 1989); Bowdish v. Continental Accessories, Inc., 1991 WL 519742 (W.D.Mich.,1991); Sullivan v. Continental Accessories, Inc., 1991 WL 420042 (W.D.Mich. 1991); Bowdish v. Continental Accessories, Inc., 966 F.2d 1451 (6th Cir. 1992); and Johnson v. Office of Senate Fair Employment Practices, 35 F.3d 1566 (Fed. Cir. 1994).

[7] Amos v. Corporation of Presiding Bishop of Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, 594 F.Supp. 791 (D. Utah 1984); Amos v. Corporation of Presiding Bishop of Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, 618 F.Supp. 1013 (D. Utah 1985).

[8] Corporation of Presiding Bishop of Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints v. Amos, 483 U.S. 327, 107 S.Ct. 2862 (1987).

[9] Perez v. F.B.I., 707 F.Supp. 891 (W.D.Tex. 1988); Sudtelgte v. Reno, 1994 WL 3406 (W.D.Mo.,1994).

[10] Shapolia v. Los Alamos Nat. Laboratory, 773 F.Supp. 304 (D.N.M. 1991); Shapolia v. Los Alamos Nat. Laboratory, 992 F.2d 1033 (10th Cir. 1993).

[11] Scott v. County of Lake, 1996 WL 479043 (N.D.Cal. 1996).

[12] Nielson v. AgriNorthwest, 95 Wash.App. 571, 977 P.2d 613 (Wash.App. Div. 3 1999); King v. Healthrider, Inc., 194 F.3d 1312 (6th Cir. 1999); Gee v. Dallas, 2002 WL 31627253 (N.D.Tex. 2002); Korslund v. Dyncorp Tri-Cities Services, Inc., 121 Wash.App. 295, 88 P.3d 966 (Wash.App. Div. 3 2004); Barcikowski v. Sun Microsystems, Inc., 420 F.Supp.2d 1163 (D.Colo. 2006); Carmody v. Bed Bath & Beyond, 2006 WL 1128216 (D.Idaho 2006); Eberhardt v. First Centrum, LLC, 2007 WL 518896 ((E.D.Mich. 2007); Tipnis v. Emery Telephone, 2007 WL 1306495 (D.Colo. 2007); and Alawi v. Sprint Nextel Corp., 544 F.Supp.2d 1171 (W.D.Wash. 2008).

[13] Stoddard v. School Dist. No. 1, Lincoln County, Wyo., 590 F.2d 829 (10th Cir. 1979).

[14] Olsen v. Idaho State Bd. of Medicine, 363 F.3d 916 (9th Cir. 2004).

[15] Nielson v. AgriNorthwest, 95 Wash.App. 571, 977 P.2d 613 (Wash.App. Div. 3 1999).

[16] Black v. Premier Co., 2002 WL 1471717 (E.D.Pa. 2002); Black v. Premier Co., 2002 WL 31045854 (E.D.Pa. 2002); and Black v. Premier Co., 2002 WL 32122658 (E.D.Pa. 2002).

[17] Carmody v. Bed Bath & Beyond, 2006 WL 1128216 (D.Idaho 2006).

Comments

comments

Comments 50

  1. Fascinating stuff!

    In these matters, Mormons are not the aggrieved. They have become … The Man.

    I love this way you’ve put it.

    Regarding your question, I have a guess about Mormons vs. Jehovah’s Witnesses, but it’s pretty vague. I wonder if Mormons are more mainstream than Jehovah’s Witnesses are. This might play into things like how likely people are to control businesses or become supervisors and even be in a position to discriminate. But this is a half-formed hypothesis at best.

  2. I would guess that the difference is due to the fact that Mormons have a geographical area where they are the predominant “ethnic” group. You can only be the Man when you’re in the majority. There isn’t a comparable region where Adventists or Witnesses are in the majority.

  3. Sometimes I get the sense that we (Mormons) have unofficially bought into the dogma of the prosperity gospel. We may not be endorsing it at the ecclesiastical level a la Joel Osteen and Creflo Dollar, but there’s undeniable social pressure to achieve and maximize one’s outcome in employment (and all other areas of life, for that matter). I wonder if this has led to us being in more of a position to discriminate. I don’t know about the Adventists or Witnesses, but I wonder if this drive to succeed is not a part of their culture as much.

  4. Jeff:

    So that I understand, are saying that the Supreme Court has ruled that the religious discrimination rights granted to a Church also extend to any profit generating entities owned by that Church? Deseret Book for Example, or Beneficial (I don’t think the Church owns Beneficial anymore, but I am not sure)?

    If so then this becomes particularly pointed, since my first guess was going to be that the Church is just a larger target considering they are the second largest employer in utah, second to the state itself, not counting many of it’s subsidiaries. Shooting from the hip I think Tom’s point is probably a major factor. I have noticed that non-Mormons in Utah (particularly Utah County) often feel on the outside of Utah society, and so they may be more apt to sense this in the workforce. This sense may compel them to draw lines in employment when they percieve discrimination, perhaps even mildly, and see legal redress as the only means of mitigating this discrimination – given that the supply of employers is largely encapsulated in the “Mormon market”. I don’t think that the Jehova’s Witnesses, nor the Seventh-Day-Adventists, have a regional corrallary even close to the magnitude of Mormons with Utah.

  5. That’s right, Cowboy. Churches can discriminate on the basis of religion (in order to maintain their ethnic purity), even if their employment activities are far flung, like the LDS Church. However, this does not immunize them from other forms of liability (tort, contract, workers compensation, etc.) Did you know that the Christian Science Monitor had a policy of only hiring Christian Scientist reporters to the extent possible?

    I completely agree with your diagnosis for why the LDS Church has become The Man in employment discrimination cases. The Mormons have true enclaves (mainly in the west), whereas the Witnesses and the Adventists, not so much (though try finding an open restaurant in Loma Linda, California on Saturday).

    In addition to employment discrimination lawsuits, this dynamic also causes Mormons to be sued more by conspiratorial crazy people, which I’m going to write about next week (and hopefully not get sued by them).

  6. Jeff, fascinating stuff, and we’re lucky to have you posting here at MM.

    In response to your question at the end of the post, possibilities that come to mind are:

    1. Mormons have a Utah where they can pretty easily establish an majority in the workplace without even intending to. Even outside Utah, Mormons are likely to rub shoulders weekly with fellow BYU alumni at church services, which becomes a natural employment recruiting pool. This can enable Mormon employers to create a Mormon majority in the workplace, even where religion was not a motivating factor in the employment decision, but rather, the decision to hire is based on: (1) the Mormon employer’s feeling he can trust someone he already has a personal relationship with (and not particularly because it’s a relationship facilitated by mutual involvement in the LDS Church; believe it or not, most Mormons I know are actually wary of doing business with fellow Mormons); and (2) the Mormon employer simply relates to people who attended the same college (likely BYU) as he did (which is not inherently discriminatory because there’s a practice of alumni hiring their fellow alums all over the country, inside and outside the LDS church).

    2. The fact that Mormons are continually urged to talk about the Church with non-Mormons (i.e., do “missionary work”) may lead them to inject the topic of religion into the workplace more often than Adventists or Witnesses.

    Thanks again for this interesting piece!

  7. The issue of regional dominance is a significant and valid one. But how does that apply to the FBI and government offices? Quoting Jeff’s research: “These cases are not limited to Utah. They include the FBI [9], Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico [10], a county government in California [11], and private workplaces in Washington, Colorado, Idaho, Oregon, Michigan, Texas and Pennsylvania [12]”

  8. There are several Jehovah’s Witnesses where I work, and they invariably leave their religion at home. Also, JW’s are perfectly willing to have a beer after work, which makes them seem more “normal.”

  9. Practically every church member I know of who is in a position of hiring seems to frequently hire from among members of the church. I don’t think it’s intentional discrimination; but it’s a truism that “whom you know is more important than what you know,” and the church by its very structure supports quite an impressive social structure.

    I once knew a school principal in Oregon (i.e., not Utah or Idaho) who was a stake president, and nearly half of his teachers were LDS. Yet I don’t believe there was intentional discrimination. The situation made for some hard feelings among nonmembers. And it can be that sort of situation that ends up leading to litigation.

    I suspect the same thing can happen in some parts of the country where there are prominent Protestant megachurches and that sort of thing. I have read of cases involving pro-evangelical discrimination; they may not show up a lot in this sort of analysis because of the way evangelicalism crosses denominational boundaries.

    What I’d be curious to know re the cited cases: In what percentage of cases did the plaintiffs lose, and how does that compare with religious-bias cases in general?

  10. I can do that work-up, Eric. Thanks for the idea, and stay tuned. My sense from my other area of expertise – Muslim litigation history in the US – is that court opinions in religious bias employment cases consist of two types of opinions:(1) dismissals and (2) refusals to dismiss. Actual verdicts, i.e. dispositions, are harder to come by because in Title VII they are typically tried by juries and they don’t issue opinions. Same with out-of-court settlements. Nevertheless, your idea is a good one. Let me see what I can find. Speaking of Muslims, there have been only 12 cases in US history where the plaintiff won a verdict (establishing anti-Muslim bias in employment) according to court opinions. I find that amazingly low.

  11. [T]here are signs that the Mormons can be quite harsh towards non-members in the workplace

    They can even be quite harsh towards other Mormons in the workplace. An example —

    The summer after I graduated from high school I was hired at a business for whom my Stake President was the regional manager. When I interviewed with the non-LDS plant manager I was informed that a condition for my hire was that I return the following summer to work. They didn’t want to have to train someone else for the summer work. I knew that my SP had some pull in my getting the job, and was happy for the opportunity to have a job sewn up for the following summer.

    When I returned to my home town the following summer and went in to inquire as to when I could start work, I was called into the regional manager’s (my SP’s) office. I was then informed that since he knew I hadn’t paid a full tithe on my earnings the previous summer it was clear to him that I wasn’t appreciative of this job ans so it had been filled by another member of the church who the SP knew was going on a mission later that year and would be more grateful to the Lord for having this job. Luckily my scrambling to find a job only took a couple of weeks.

    I’ve always wished that at 18 I had the courage to seek out legal recourse. I didn’t even tell my parents what had happened until a couple years later.

  12. Kari, I’m no legal expert so I can’t comment on that. I do find it interesting that you got the job the first summer based on the SP knowing you outside the workplace (which you were grateful for). You didn’t get the job the second summer based on the SP knowing stuff about you outside the workplace (but you feel this was wrong).

  13. JKS:

    What is so interesting about it? Having someone extend to you a courtesy, such as employment, based on the fact that they know you is hardly unethical. If she had been hired or promoted into a position that she was unqualified for soley based on her Church membership, that’s where things start to get grey. If she were to be unfairly advantaged above other employees who perform at an equal or greater capacity than her, that’s where the question of ethics becomes pertinent. On the flip side, if she is fired based on a set of criteria other than her work performance or impact on the company product or brand, ie, her Mormon worthiness, then she has a legitimate argument.

    Kari’s written experience does merit the assumption that she expected her mutual Mormon affiliation with the Regional Manager to be a guarantee or condition of hire. I am not even sure that we can assume that her Stake President had more to do with the hiring process other than to put in a good word on her behalf. It is not apparent from her narrative that his working there was anything more than coincidence, though she does admit that his influence had some bearing on the decision. So I am curious as to why you would think this is not wrong?

  14. Second paragraph should read:

    Kari’s written experience does NOT merit the assumption that she expected her mutual Mormon affiliation with the Regional Manager to be a guarantee or condition of hire.

  15. Yes, jks, I felt it was wrong to be fired for not paying tithing, after I had committed to working another summer. Especially since it was made quite clear to me when I was hired that a commitment to a second summer of work was a condition of my initial employment.

    I don’t know how much of a role my SP played in my getting the job, but I would be naive to think he didn’t play any part. I do know that I knew about the job only because he told me about it. I don’t know how many other applicants there were, or any details of how the hiring decisions were made. For a number of reasons I don’t believe that my being hired was based upon my membership in the church. A bigger factor, in my opinion, was the fact that because of my relationship with one of his children, I spent a significant amount of time with him and his family.

    I only introduced this anecdote to show that it’s not just non-Mormons who can be treated poorly by Mormons in the workplace; “jack Mormons” and members of the church deemed “less worthy” can feel just as much heat as those who aren’t members.

  16. So, in essence, social networking is fine for everyone except religious minorities?

    Frankly, without relevant stats for “mainstream” religions, I have no way of assessing this post. Your stats are interesting, but they are presented in a vacuum – since there is no way to compare them to any other group.

    Also, you mentioned exceptions in other places, implying that the vast majority of cases were in Utah. Is that correct? If so, everyone already has addressed it – but I will add the issue of confirmation bias when a non-Mormon candidate loses out to a Mormon candidate in a heavily Mormon area.

  17. At the end of the 70’s when I returned from my mission we recieved a request from the first pres. to not run off to BYU but to attened other schools to support the missionary work and strengthen the institutes at other colleges. So I started in Calif. ending at USU. After graduating with my degree in photography I went to church headquarters to apply for a job with the church only to be told that they usualy only hire BYU grads.
    Did not shake my testamony but felt a sense of discrimination.

  18. “I will add the issue of confirmation bias when a non-Mormon candidate loses out to a Mormon candidate in a heavily Mormon area.” I have absolutely seen this at play. I have also seen reverse persecution among non-LDS in a heavily LDS community when they would like the LDS to keep all religion out of discussion in the breakroom, etc.

    Having said that, I also think the point made in #1 and #4 is on track. I have seen that some individuals, particularly if they have risen to positions of power both in their field of employment and in the church, consider themselves uniquely qualified based on their perceived combination of temporal and spiritual success to oversee the lives of their employees in a most intrusive and unwelcome fashion. In a lay clergy position this may be warranted (although even there I would hope they would tread lightly), but in an employment situation it may be illegal and/or unethical if it is unwelcome, however well-intentioned. I can think of several situations I have personally witnessed in the past 15 years or so that crossed the line.

  19. These stats are interesting, but there are far too many confounding factors for them to mean anything. For example, the LDS Church emphasizes the need to get a college education far more than Jehovah’s Witnesses do, so I suspect that Mormons are more likely to be in positions of management, where they could be sued. Furthermore, Mormons tend to shy away from lawsuits, even when they have a valid case. Jehovah’s Witnesses, on the other hand, have a long history of using lawsuits to secure their religious freedoms (something I personally admire about them).

    My wife, for example, suffered some discrimination in the work place because of her Mormon faith, but, despite my prodding, I could not get her to report it.

  20. “Interesting, there are a few cases in which active Mormons discriminated against fellow Mormons they felt were not keeping the standards (which I treated as Mormon defendant cases).”

    I’ve actually been on the receiving end of this one. Not because I didn’t hold the standards of the gospel, but because I’m not Utah caste (from UT, AZ, ID, NV). It wasn’t just me either. My wife and kids were also treated this way because none of us are from the inter-mountain west. I had a full ride scholarship to one of BYU’s engineering programs, but turned it down because of this. Mormons discriminating against ourselves (especially those from the “mission field”) is something that happens all the time, especially in the west. If we are to grow as a church and as a people, we need to accept each other for we are and gain strength from our differences, aptitudes and weaknesses.

    Let me give you guys a practical example of why mormon majorities sometimes pop up… There is a mine in east central Arizona… In the towns surrounding it, mormons aren’t really liked because they are “taking up all the jobs…” In order to get a job at the mine, you must pass a drug test… Out of every 10 guys the mine sends to get tested, they’re lucky if 4 pass… Usually those 4 are mormon and thus get the job… Passing a urine screen shouldn’t be that hard…

  21. Try being a Mormon Fundamentalist in Utah working for a ‘mainstream LDS’ employer. Your religious lifestyle is a potential felony – although not actively prosecuted.

    So when employers find out about your beliefs they may might make your work life uncomfortable (trying to force you to quit), or fire you for infractions they seem to invent just for you.

    It is unusual to find a Fundamentalist who hasn’t been fired for reasons associated with their religious beliefs. I wouldn’t be surprised if there were hundreds of potentially prosecutable cases which have never been pursued. This is because the Fundamentalist does not want to draw attention to their personal lives, and have themselves labeled and become even less employable.

    Looking at it from the employers point of view I suppose they may feel betrayed when they find that someone they presumed to be an orthodox Latter-day Saint, who keeps the Word of Wisdom, lives a moral life, and who shares a similar outlook isn’t the type of Mormon they thought they were. But we aren’t safe befriending the non-Mormons – who sometimes find us too Mormon for them, and may take even more offense at our way of life.

    I have been tempted to tell prospective employers my religious affiliation in advance, so I can find out whether it will be an issue for them in the future – but why shouldn’t my fitness for a job be judged on my skills and experience in my field?

  22. A question about the comments (and I should say I took the data where I found it): is there anyone out there who thinks that it’s ok for Mormons to violate anti-discrimination laws? I don’t think that equates with mere social networking. There also seems to be a notion out there that Utah can be excused, which I have a hard time buying. After all, it is a state, and therefore subject to Federal Law Regarding Ray’s comments, I can’t well be more comparative than having a chart comparing the Mormons with Jehovah’s Witnesses and Adventists. Give me a fair reference group (“mainstream”) and I’ll run it. Catholics? Not yet Jews? Same.What is the best comparison for Mormons? The Methodists maybe?

  23. I read the article and skimmed the comments — pls forgive me if this was asked and answered already: What were the % of cases *won or lost* by the defendants and plaintiffs in each religious group you noted? I’d like to know so as to confirm or dismiss the possibility that the high percentage of complaints against LDS resulted from vestigal prejudice against us, much like we would suppose if the first (pick a minority) manager in a company had been barraged by complaints from (majority) subordinants.
    .
    I’ve been both the manager and the managed and have been in cases in each circumstance in which I believe I was done wrong because of my religion. E.g., an employee who very apparently was headed for a poor annual review filed a religious-harassment complaint about me. When it came to light that her basis was that I had answered religious questions that she had asked me nearly a year earlier, the complaint dropped away quietly. I also have seen LDS workers who lost the distinction between member-missionarying in public and proper deportment in the sometimes involuntary associations at work.
    .

  24. I am researching a paper for a business law class and would like to receive particular instances in which anyone was discriminated against because of thier non-mormon beliefs. Any and all pertinent responses will be answered. vigansky@comcast.net

  25. This topic reminded me of something I have been thinking about for a while, religious discimination as a whole.

    Aren’t people’s beliefs a key component in who they are and what they do? Shouldn’t I consider someone’s beliefs if I am hiring them? I know it is wrong to discriminate bc of someone’s culture or bc of what their parents believe, but religious discrimination is about someone’s beliefs. If I found out an employee of mine believed that his desk was an alien life form, I wouldn’t want him around. If I had an employee who believed that he was god, I wouldn’t want him around. If I had an employee who believed that ten year olds could consent to sexual relationships, I wouldn’t want him around. If I had an employee who believed that all infidels must be converted or killed, I wouldn’t want him around. Someone’s beliefs are a huge component of what they do and who they are. This is not the color of their skin, it’s what they believe! And some of those beliefs are dangerous and could be a threat to me and mine.

    Some religious beliefs are benign. Some religious beliefs are dangerous. It seems odd to me that it is taboo to take someone’s religious beliefs into account when deciding whether or not to trust them. I wouldn’t trust someone who believed his shoes spoke to him. We probably would all agree that a person like that has issues. But if you believe in a mainstream religion it is “wrong” for an employer to consider the implications of their beliefs?

    Part of the problem is that the word “mormon” or “jew” or “muslim” doesn’t tell you really what someone beliefs. But my point is, that if you did know someone’s true beliefs, how do you not take them into account?

  26. I work in a private company in Washington State. I would say half of the people with whom I now work are Mormon. When you get one Mormon manager, that’s pretty much who he hires…other Mormons. Because of the jewelery they wear, they do not have to announce at job interviews that they are Mormon because the jewelery makes the announcement for them. An interviewee, whom I was to escort, walked into the building and was immediately asked by the receptionist (who did not know the man) which ward he belonged to. He got the job. One of my bosses does not open his contractor positions up for interviewees–he always has “someone in mind,” who always happens to be Mormon. For being as upright and fine a citizens as they think they are, they have no problem being unscrupulous or cheating non-mormons if it benefits them. One man used to spend half a day during work hours planning his church’s campouts while his work fell farther and farther behind. I have several family members who have recently become Mormon, and I have discovered that their consciences have fallen by the wayside in the name of Mormonism. They are hypocrites.

  27. I have been discriminated of any job in N.J. because of mormons and incestrial people working in the F.B.I. I applied to the F.B.I. in 1988. Since I applied, in 1988, my parents were murdered in 1990 and 2006. The New Jersey E.E.O.C. never wanted to help me with my employment rights. There was an conspiracy against me through the legal system, because I had kidnapping in my family. This happened through the government in 1957. Ever since I applied for F.B.I. work, I have been harrassed out of any other kind of jobs, I tried to hold. This was President Clinton’s idea after signing the family leave act into progress. As for the Clinton family: they started a prostitutional set up of funds through the government for their family members.

  28. This article really describes what the Moron “church” has become. The Mormons are nothing more than a gang of thugs that bully non- Mormons in the workplace. It is a shame that they are allowed to do so.

    In this economy it is hard enough to get a job and to be pushed out of a job by the “Mormon Mafia” or not be hired because of the “Mormon Mafia” is so wrong.

    The Mormon “Church” is not a church but a form of organized crime ….while they are not breaking the law in a criminal since they are more than willing to break any civil laws to promote the “good of the Mormon Church”

  29. I WORKED FOR POMEGRANATE MARKET IN SIOUX FALLS SD AND TWO OF ITS THREE OWNERS ARE MORMANS. THEY HIRED A MORMAN MANAGER WHO RAN THE COMPANY POORLY AND DISCRIMINATED AGAINST AGE AND GENDER. DESPITE OUR ATTEMPTS TO POINT THIS OUT THEY STOOD BY THEIR MAN.

  30. This is something actually quite rampant in Utah,  but more so by Mormons towards others.   I have personally worked for two companies in the Salt Lake City area and both upon hiring you were basically asked in  the training class if anyone had “ever gone on a mission”,  “which ward they went to” and similar catch phrases to single out which of the class had LDS ties, these classemates were then given priority while the non-question responders were put on the back burner or treated very poorly by the main trainer involved.  Luckily in the second place I worked for the main trainer that was pulling this was removed to a different position however not until he had been in it for almost a year or so and I can only hope that the first that I immediately left did the right thing as well.  This is not at all an uncommon thing in this area and many people I have spoken with have mirrored my concern with applying for jobs, dealing with employment issues, and dealing with legal or police issues when an issue came up with a LDS affiliated person(s) in this area.  Basically the bias shown by the Latter Day Saints in their own area is a far cry from their supposed stance on discriminatory practices.

  31. It is a fallacious argument to assert that churches are guilty just because they were sued or that the increase in court cases shows an increase in incidences of guilt.  I would be interested to know how many people actually won their cases against these churches. 

    Allowing churches to selectively hire their own members to care for church business is an example of separation of church and state.  Mormons in particular do some custodial hiring as part of their welfare program for their members, and the state has no right to force a church to provide welfare to everyone.

    1. To address your question about more people are suing the Mormon church:  maybe the Mormon church hires more people than the others.  Maybe the Mormon church has more money and offers a bigger target.  Maybe if you do more research, you will find some answers.  Best of luck.

    2. As a Mormon, I can say that we are discouraged from sueing, its better to just forgive/forget it and move on.

      I’m not saying its a good or bad thing, but maybe the other 2 religions are encouraged to sue if they believe they’re being discriminated against.

      I agree that this article would show more meaningful information if it showed the results of the case- say if Mormons didn’t lose any cases but other lost %50 of them, it would be easier to then see that its just a restraint from the Mormons that keeps their lawsuits down.

    3. The cases were not against the church.  The cases were against members of the church who worked at a business.  The church can hire whoever they want.  A business has to abide by discrimination laws.  It is illegal for businesses to discriminate against people because of religion.  I am surprised that the number is not into the thousands against mormons in businesses.  Not only is there discrimination against non-mormons in business with regards to employment and promotions but also in public schools as well with academics and athletics.  I have watched it happen all my life..it is a fact unlike the existence of god.  Whether the Mormon church promotes this or it’s just political within organizations is not known by non-mormons.  Maybe it’s just that mormons favor other mormons over non-mormons.  If that is true then that is illegal within a business.     

  32. The Mormons are supposedly to have been Coke Cola and other companies as some sort of settlement from the US Government. They typically behave in all these manners and often are converted from Jews.

  33. Mormon businesses systematically discriminate against Blacks in Safford AZ.  They have a few token Blacks to keep anyone else from suing them but they shut out Black people from making a living there

  34. Give in and concede: Mormons got it right, and have it right.  They are the only Church in the US which makes even a half-way decent attempt to enforce and fulfill the law of Moses.  Overseas is the location of most Mormons and growing in great, great numbers.  Concede now and repent before the tidal wave hits you and you have more to repent, pay and make restitution for.  Just my two cents and I’m not even a Mormon.

    1. Clearly you’re not a Mormon; nor do you know anything about the Mosaic Law. You’re a moron. Mormons don’t practice the Mosaic Law (the 613 mitzvot)–though certainly they’ve borrowed ideas from it, and still sustain that the Bible (including references to the Mosaic Law) is the “word of God, as far as it is translated correctly.” That’s one of the pretenses of their gospel: that God gave to Moses and restored to Joseph Smith a greater law (the ten commandments, and subsequently all other Christian precepts), to replace the Mosaic Law i.e. Judaism. Holy shit you are a moron.

  35. I am a Greek American and a member of the Greek Orthodox faith.  I admit liking and preferring Greek to non Greek people.  If I were hiring among a pool of applicants and one or two of them were Greek, I would probably favor that person because they are Greek.  

    For this reason I fully understand why Mormons like Mormons.  It is not a religious thing as much as it is a tribal thing.  I’m not saying it is okay to discriminate, but it is only human to prefer to be around people who are more like you that dissimilar to you.

    And if I were hiring among a pool of applicants and none of them were Greek, but one of them was Mormon, I would probably favor the Mormon because, in my life experience, every single Mormon person I have known has been hard working. I am sure lazy Mormons exist, but I have never met one.  Does that make me prejudiced in favor of Mormons?  You bet it does.  Does that mean I am guilty of discriminating?  I sure hope not.  All I am trying to do is hire the best worker possible, and I cannot help but rely on my own experience – even if that experience creates a positive stereotype.

    1. Yes, that would make you guilty of discriminating and you would be sued.  The type of thinking that Mormons or Greeks are somehow more superior to others is the type of thinking that the Nazis had.  You need to start thinking of people as individuals and not groups.  There are good hard working people in all sorts of flavors and walks of life. 

      1. Yes, it is a form of discrimination, but it would not get me sued, Lucifer.  Discrimination happens all of the time. Only certain kinds are actionable.  For example, if I have five job applicants who are all equally qualified, I can favor the Greek because he or she is Greek. But in the same field of equally qualified job applicants, I cannot deny the black applicants the job because they are black. The later is actionable. The former is not – and it is nothing like what Hitler did.  Do you know what Hitler did? I suspect that, despite your nickname, you really don’t know. If you did, you would not have suggested the comparison.

        Now if you will excuse me, I need to finish interviewing ten people for a new position with my firm. All ten are equally qualified, but I’ve narrowed down the field to three candidates, one Mormon, one Greek and one African American.  I like them all and just can’t decide which to hire.

  36. Mormons in businesses discriminate against non-mormons all the time.  Anybody who is a non-mormon and lives around them knows this.  They also discriminate in schools in the area of academics and athletics.  I have watched it happen all my life. 

  37. I was just in an interview the other day and an employer was telling me about his company. It is a family ownned business. He told me that they were Mormons. I said, “what?” because I have never heard that sort of thing in an interview before. I kinda laughed when he told me because I didn’t know what it had to do with anything. I feel now that they were “weeding out” the non mormons. He said he wanted to let me know because some people have a problem with that. I have NEVER heard of anyone having a problem with mormom employers. Anyway, I didn’t say, “oh, so am I” because I’m not. I didn’t get the job. I kinda wonder if that is why.

  38. They are also a little sexist, at least the Mo company my friend works for is. They are currently seeking an employee, and after interviewing several older extremely qualified individuals, one young, pretty, perky little number walked in and is now the hands-down favorite among the owners. The position to be filled requires years of experience, and it’s doubtful that this 20-something is qualified in any way, but hey, she’s fun too look at. Right?

  39. I would guess this is probably due to the fact that Mormons employ alot of people.

    There is also a pretty strong cultural norm among Mormons to not be a plaintiff in any legal case. I know my relatives frown heavily on frivolous or even semi-frivolous lawsuits- if they were lightly “discriminated” against they would be unlikely to go to court simply due to personal persuasions about the nature of legal justice. It could just be one family, but from what I’ve observed most Mormons frown on going to court over a little personal incident, and if an employer clearly didn’t like Mormons the Mormon probably wouldn’t want to work there anyway.

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