Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Home Depot Sued for Religious Discrimination

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A Home Depot in Okeechobee, Florida, exhibited clear bias against a Christian worker who refused to remove his button that read “One Nation under God, indivisible” from his apron. Trevor Keezor, who was working at Home Depot to earn money for college, states that he wore the button for over a year to show his support for his country, his brother who currently serves in the military, and for God.

Keezer explains, “I was just doing what I think every American should do, just love my country.”

Keezer adds that he wore the button in his store since March 2008, but was asked to remove the button when he began bringing the Bible to read during his lunch break. He was fired on October 23, after he refused to remove his pin and replace it with the company-approved pin that reads, “United We Stand.” 

According to Craig Fishel, a Home Depot spokesman, Keezer was fired for violating company dress code with a pin that openly expressing religious beliefs: “This associate chose to wear a button that expressed his religious beliefs. The issue is not whether or not we agree with the message on the button. That’s not our place to say, which is exactly why we have a blanket policy, which is long-standing and well-communicated to our associates, that only company-provided pins and badges can be worn on our aprons.”

Apparently, company-provided pins include those which promote homosexuality. In the photograph below, you can see The Home Depot employees attired in aprons decorated for a Lesbian and Gay Film Festival in Seattle, Washington.

According to the American Family Association, “Dozens of homosexual employees participated in Home Depot-sponsored gay pride parades and festivals. Many employees wore numerous buttons on their aprons promoting homosexuality. The Home Depot defended them by saying homosexual employees will not be prohibited “in any way” when it comes to what they do and wear.”

Angered over The Home Depot’s clear double-standard, the American Family Association is encouraging Americans to take action. They ask that concerned citizens sign a pledge to boycott Home Depot print the petition and distribute it at church, call Home Depot store managers to make them aware that there agenda is unsupported, and finally post the boycott pledge on Facebook, Myspace, and Twitter to alert others. 

Kara Skorupa, Keezer’s lawyer has filed suit against Home Depot for their treatment of Keezer.  Skorupa explains, “There are federal and state laws that protect against religious discrimination.  It’s not like he was out in the aisles preaching to people.”

Noting that the slogan on Keezer’s pin comes right out of the Pledge of Allegiance, Skorupa asserts, “That’s part of our country and historical fabric.” 

Unfortunately for Keezer, it is difficult to win a lawsuit over religious persecution, contends civil rights professor at NOVA Southeastern University Michael Masinter. Masinter explains that as a private business, The Home Depot is not subject to the free speech provisions found in the First Amendment. 

Proud Christians and Americans await with baited breath to see if justice will prevail for the 20-year old who stood up for what he believed despite the consequences.