A group of Christians have sued their employer,
Laboratories, charging the company with denying the group equal rights and privileges given to homosexual employees.
The suit was filed by the
American Family Association in New Mexico’s federal district court Monday in Albuquerque on behalf of the Christian group.
As part of its equal employment opportunity policy, Sandia officially recognized the Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual Networking Group, giving the group access to company “funding, administrative assistance and use of company facilities and communication channels,” according to Sandia’s “Guidelines for Human Resources.”
WorldNetDaily obtained the document, which declares Sandia’s policy regarding treatment of groups not protected by equal employment opportunity laws. Wording of the policy specifically excludes religious groups.
|Sandia’s Director and President C. Paul Robinson|
“Our policy is to meet the letter, intent, and spirit of all applicable equal employment opportunity laws and regulations,” the document states. “There are two legally protected groups under EEO national or state law for which there is no affirmative action legal requirement. The groups are people over 40 years of age and gay/lesbians. These groups may petition for recognition and support as EEO networking groups. There is also no affirmative action requirement for marital status and religious beliefs.”
The policy goes on to say the company “is committed to assuring awareness of the workplace related needs and issues of personnel in these legally protected groups so as to support a non-discriminatory workplace environment.”
However, when Christians in the Workplace Networking Group applied for official recognition with Sandia, the company denied its request.
After deliberating the Christian group’s request for seven months, Sandia denied it, saying the Christian workers had “not established the existence of workplace barriers based on religion.”
But in a letter to Margaret Harvey, Sandia’s diversity, EEO and affirmative action department manager, CWNG member Michael Hall listed examples of discrimination against Christians at the company. Among the examples cited in the letter.
- Sandia’s policies regarding bulletin board postings do not allow any references to religious events.
- Sandia employees may organize and collect donations of food or clothing for any organization so long as it is non-denominational.
- Company EEO networking groups policy specifically excludes religious groups.
- Employees have been required to remove posters, pictures, books and screen savers having any religious content.
- Engineers may not use Biblical references when generating creative names for new projects. For example, a reconnaissance robot named Caleb (for the Biblical spy sent on a reconnaissance mission) was ordered to be renamed. Employees “use the Lord’s name as profanity.”
“Because of these and similar incidents, many Christian workers are not comfortable with expressing who they are openly for fear of ridicule or reprimand from management or fellow employees,” the letter continues.
After their initial request for recognition was denied, the Christian workers submitted a series of follow-up requests, but Sandia management never changed its mind.
Granting recognition to the homosexual group while denying the same recognition to the Christian group violates the Christians’ constitutional rights to free speech and free exercise of religion, the lawsuit contends.
Plaintiffs have asked the court to declare Sandia’s EEO policy unconstitutional and to order the company to pay attorneys’ fees.
Sandia, one of three
Department of Energy laboratories — including
Lawrence Livermore and
Los Alamos which develop top-secret weaponry for the government, was shut down for two days last month so employees could undergo “diversity training.”
|Secretary of the Department of Energy Bill Richardson|
“Apparently the DOE is more concerned with furthering diversity than it is with national security,” said Stephen Crampton, the American Family Association attorney representing the Christian group.
The AFA issued a statement saying “the whole concept of networking groups was designed expressly to extend special privileges to homosexuals.”
“In short,” the statement continues, “homosexuals have received special rights at Sandia, while Christian employees have been denied equal treatment.”
“Despite paying lip service to non-discrimination on the basis of religion, Sandia’s policy is discriminatory against religion on its face,” Crampton said. “It is an insult not only to believers in God, but to believers in freedom everywhere,” he added.
Since officially recognizing the homosexual employee group, Sandia employees have been subjected to annual “Coming Out Day” celebrations and “diversity training,” in which they are encouraged to accept and respect homosexuals.
Some employees have even been asked to remove photos of their wives and children, because they offend homosexuals, who are not allowed to marry and feel pressure not to publicize their own intimate relationships.
WorldNetDaily contacted Sandia, which issued a written statement.
“Sandia understands that serious, emotional issues are involved here,” it says. “Some of the comments made by the American Family Association (AFA) in its May 1 news release and by its legal counsel are inflammatory and divisive. Sandia believes such extreme rhetoric does not serve anyone well, and we will not get involved in a running debate with the AFA in the media. We will address these serious issues that are important to our employees through proper channels.”
“Sandia National Laboratories’ policy is to provide an employee-friendly environment free of prejudice to anyone on the basis of race, age, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or any other basic characteristic or belief.
“We cannot comment about specific issues in any litigation pending against the Laboratories, but we assure everyone that Sandia will continue working with all employee interest groups to resolve any perceived fairness or discrimination issues.”
But Crampton doubts the company’s sincerity.
“The high priests of tolerance do not practice what they preach,” he said. “Progress at Sandia apparently means relegating Christians to the back of the bus.”