Personal finance guru Dave Ramsey has asked employees at his company to ignore COVID-19 work-from-home orders and attend in-person rallies of more than 900 workers who have been encouraged not to wear masks or maintain social distancing, a new federal lawsuit for workplace discrimination claims.
Employees at Ramsey Solutions – the Franklin, Tennessee, home of the bestselling Christian evangelical author and media mogul – who wanted to work from home instead of coming to the office was guilty of “weakness of mind,” Ramsey said, according to the lawsuit.
Brad Amos, who filed the lawsuit in Nashville U.S. District Court on Monday, said in the lawsuit he asked to work from home for fear of spreading the coronavirus in the workplace because he has a young son with Coats disease, a rare condition that can restrict blood and oxygen to the retina. His wife is also a high risk person “with a predisposition to pneumonia,” he said.
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Amos accepted a senior video editor position at the live media and events company in August 2019. He moved his family to the area in March 2020 after selling their California home.
He accuses Ramsey Solutions of religious discrimination and retaliation against him by firing him in July 2020 after refusing to follow the company’s COVID-19 strategy of “praying and keeping moving forward” and for adhering to his own beliefs religious beliefs that “God helps those who help themselves” by following scientific precautions to fight the pandemic.
In a statement to USA TODAY, Ramsey Solutions said that Amos’ lawsuit “is filled with misrepresentation and has no basis whatsoever. Mr Amos was fired during a meeting to discuss his poor performance with his executives, where he insulted his top executive. He was not fired for his religious beliefs or the way he wanted to deal with COVID. “
Ramsey Solutions “is fully prepared to defend this lawsuit and win,” the statement said.
Amos’ attorney Jonathan Street said he and his client were fired a similar action filed in Tennessee state court in April, after receiving a Right to Sue letter from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission allowing them to file a case in federal court.
His religious beliefs, which require him to protect the health and safety of his family, Amos said in the lawsuit, ran counter to “the company’s sectarian attitude towards Mr Ramsey for the entire duration of the complainant’s employment “.
When Amos first interviewed the company, Street told USA TODAY, “They seemed to have their views aligned. When he got there they actually weren’t. Religion is Dave. Ramsey. Ultimate warrant. “
Amos was initially allowed to work from home, but was demoted to an assistant video editor position. He also said that answers to questions about his personal life, including his marriage, which were supposed to be private, were being shared with senior management, Amos said in the lawsuit.
Amos said he returned to power as required in May 2020 before being sacked two months later. “Employees who wore masks at meetings were mocked and derided,” Amos said in the lawsuit, in which he seeks reimbursement of wages and damages.
This is just the latest workplace termination lawsuit Ramsey Solutions is facing. In September, former employee Julie Anne Stamps, who turned out to be a lesbian while working there, felt compelled to resign because the company does not agree “with this lifestyle”.
In July 2021, another employee, Caitlin O’Connor, alleged in a federal lawsuit that she was fired because she was pregnant but not married to the baby’s father. Lawyers for Ramsey Solutions have said in court records that the employee was fired for premarital sex, as were a dozen more employees.
Ramsey vigorously opposed the COVID-19 restrictions, calling them “totalitarian” government restrictions, and said he wanted to “launch a crusade” against them. The company reportedly hosted a big Christmas party in December 2020 with hundreds of staff, even though it experienced an outbreak of more than 50 COVID-19 cases at its headquarters in November 2020, The religion information service reported.
Contribution: Brinley Hineman, Emily R. West of The Nashville Tennessean
Follow Mike Snider on Twitter: @mikesnider.