Wyoming Christian Rescue Mission Wins Right to Hire Believers Only, Settles Employment Lawsuit

Wyoming Christian Rescue Mission Wins Right to Hire Believers Only, Settles Employment Lawsuit
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A Christian rescue mission in Casper, Wyoming, has won concessions from state and federal regulators and will be able to hire those who affirm the nonprofit’s religious beliefs, its attorneys said Wednesday.

The consent decree comes two months after the Wyoming Rescue Mission sued the state Department of Workforce Services and the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in a dispute over his refusal in 2020 to hire a “self-proclaimed non-Christian” for a position at a thrift store.

The group’s thrift store associates are expected to teach those enrolled in the mission’s discipleship recovery program “how to spread the gospel, model Christ, and make disciples of one another,” a press release from the mission said. not-for-profit legal organization Alliance Defending Freedom.

The claimant filed a discrimination complaint, and a 16-month investigation followed, said ADF, which represented the mission. Although the mission said it was a faith-based organization whose religious-based hiring decisions are exempt from Wyoming’s Fair Employment Practices Act and Title VII of the federal the 1964 civil rights, government officials said the group “probably” violated statutes, leading to the lawsuit.

State and federal agencies have agreed that the Wyoming Rescue Mission can restrict hiring to “individuals who accept and live the mission’s religious beliefs and practices,” the ADF statement said, and the group resumed l hiring for vacancies.

According to the consent decree, which was filed Tuesday, the mission is also free to “dismiss and discipline employees” regarding workers’ adherence to the group’s religious beliefs. Wyoming Rescue Mission may also post job openings on the job placement agency’s bulletin board with a specification that only believers are hired.

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The consent decree states that the state agency will pay $10,000 in attorney fees to the ADF. Federal District Court Judge Scott W. Skavdahl dismissed the EEOC from the lawsuit after the settlement.

“The First Amendment protects the freedom of the Wyoming Rescue Mission to hire those who share its beliefs without being threatened or investigated by the government,” Jacob Reed, legal counsel for the ADF, said in a statement. “We are pleased to settle this matter favorably for the Rescue Mission so it can continue its vital work of serving some of Casper’s most vulnerable citizens and spreading the gospel.”

Ty Stockton, chief assistant administrator for policy, planning and communications at the Department of Workforce Services in Cheyenne, told The Washington Times that he “cannot comment further” on the settlement until he will not have received a response from the administration of the agency.

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