A Christian former employee of Allstate has settled a lawsuit with the company he had filed claiming he was fired because of an anti-homosexual, anti-same-sex marriage column he wrote on his own time.
As WorldNetDaily reported, J. Matt Barber was a manager in Allstate’s Corporate Security Division, its investigative arm, at the Fortune 100 company’s headquarters in Northbrook, Ill. Besides working for the insurance provider, Barber was and is a professional heavyweight boxer, a jazz drummer and a Web commentator. His columns have appeared on TheConservativeVoice.com, MensNewsDaily.com and others.
The column in question was written and posted in December 2004. After being called into a meeting with two human resources officials who confronted Barber about the column, he was fired effective Feb. 3.
Though the original column’s bio line did not indicate Barber worked for Allstate, editors at one of the sites where it was posted added that information, and a complaint about the piece made its way to Allstate management.
With the help of the Christian Law Association and David Gibbs III, who represented Terri Schiavo’s family in the final weeks of her life, Barber sued Allstate in federal court. That suit has been settled out of court, and neither side, per a confidentiality agreement, are saying much about it.
“My family and I feel like a weight has been lifted,” Barber told WND. “We’re in a position now where we can move forward with our lives.”
Barber said he couldn’t reveal details of the settlement, which lawyers announced Thursday.
Christian advocacy groups got behind Barber in the battle, and eight members of Congress got involved as well.
“I think Allstate saw the writing on the wall,” Peter LaBarbera, executive director of the Illinois Family Institute, told the Chicago Tribune. “I think they would have lost a lot of business over this.”
Barber now is working for Republican candidate for governor in Illinois, Jim Oberweis.
“I’m trying to do my part to get him elected March 21 in the Republican primary,” Barber said. “He’s the pro-life, pro-family candidate here in Illinois.”
Oberweis faces fellow Republican Judy Baar Topinka, whom Barber describes as a “liberal,” along with two other candidates. The winner will attempt to unseat incumbent Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich.