Liberty Counsel defended the religious freedom of Jews for Jesus against a wrongful charge of “discrimination” filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The EEOC dismissed the charge on March 31, 2020, ending a case that was filed just over one year ago. The EEOC stated the “facts alleged in the charge fail to state a claim under any of the statutes enforced by the EEOC.”
Jews for Jesus is an organization dedicated to pursuing “God’s plan of salvation for the Jewish people” through personal faith in Jesus Christ. Under the First Amendment and Title VII, religious organizations such as Jews for Jesus may hire prospective employees who share the organization’s religious beliefs.
Despite Jews for Jesus’ clear statement of faith and religious beliefs, an individual applied for employment as a Social Media Coordinator with Jews for Jesus in December 2019, even though he did not share the faith of Jews for Jesus. The applicant was aware of the ministry’s religious beliefs about Jesus, and long history as a religious ministry. However, when his employment application was not accepted, the applicant filed a charge of employment discrimination with the EEOC against Jews for Jesus. Fines for discrimination can be significant. For example, employers with up to 100 employees may be subjected up to $50,000 in compensatory damages and an employer with up to 200 employees, the limit is $100,000.
Liberty Counsel represented Jews for Jesus before the EEOC regarding the “discrimination” complaint and filed a response to the charge. None of the Social Media Coordinator job’s “Essential Functions” could be accomplished without the applicant’s personal religious faith in agreement with that of the ministry. The First Amendment and Title VII makes it unlawful for any employment candidate to pursue this argument with the EEOC. The EEOC agreed with Liberty Counsel, that the “charge of discrimination” failed, and closed the complaint.
Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver said, “Religious organizations have the right to make a good faith determination of who qualifies as their ‘ministers.’ Jews for Jesus requires all employees to share its religious beliefs about Jesus Christ to join its organization. A Social Media Coordinator is a critical position within the organization. A person in this position must not only hold the organization’s religious beliefs, but must be able to present the ministry’s message of faith convincingly, persuasively and passionately in Jesus Christ and hope of salvation to the world via multiple platforms. A religious organization cannot be forced to violate its mission statement by hiring someone who does not share its mission.”