Court: Anti-Gay Christian Bigot Not Protected by 1964 Civil Rights Act

The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled against a Wal-Mart worker who sued the company after she was fired for an anti-gay diatribe against homosexuality during a work break, Gay City News reports:

Walmart 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.

Matthews sued, claiming religious discrimination in violation of the 1964 Act. She pointed out that her work record up until then had been satisfactory, so it was clear she was fired for her religiously-based statements about gay people.

Wal-Mart Harassment Policy Trumps Religious Bigotry [gay city news]