I could use advise. I am returning to work after an 18 month layoff. I worked there two years. I am dreading going back ONLY because it is a small working area full of bible thumping right wing conservatives that made it very clear my belief structure is wrong and they are right. Tensions ran high and I asked management to step in after I made it clear my opinions are to be respected.I am proud of my thoughts and always matter of factly say I don't subscribe to the majority.I, you should note, am not a radical nontheistic  individual. I do not hide my opinions but was " outed" when I asked to be excused from the x-mas luncheon. I refused to participate and it was as if I was burning an American flag on a pile of bibles in the parking lot. Management acted and stood behind me. Case closed......I thought. Snide comments within earshot was a daily event. jesus love and god bless you and all the glory be crap was childishly and excessively thrown around while I was trying to work with the intent to piss me off.  Tension was palpable and the building split between those who thought I was to be respected and those who wanted a deity to strike me dead. All I wanted to do was work and did not want to run to management all the time.  My question is any legal precedent relating to civil rights for atheist? Now I know you point to the constitution which relates to this case but would it fall under a more modern issue of hate crime.  It was hostile and a very tense environment. No physical harm was provoked but there are many forms of abuse with verbal being as dramatic as physical. How do you deal with it? I know this is not unique and my response is to ignore it, which I did for two years but it never let up. Sadly it is being kept super secret I am coming back because if "they" knew they would mount a campaign to stop it. I want/need to work but dread the inevitable snottyness.   When i go  back it will pick right back up. Obviously I could contact the ACLU but I don't want a lawsuit just to do my job and be left alone. There is no talking it out. I tried that. Any advice?     

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I've never taken the time to look into this before, but its actually really interesting. The web site is pretty good and clear to someone with no legal experience.


Filing a Charge
Anyone who believes that s/he has been subjected to discrimination in violation of Title VII may file a charge with the nearest field office of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Persons who file a charge, oppose unlawful employment discrimination, participate in employment discrimination proceedings, or otherwise assert their rights under the laws enforced by the Commission are protected against retaliation. An EEOC charge must be filed within 180 days -- or 300 if the state has a fair employment practices agency -- of the date of the disputed conduct. Field offices are located throughout the United States. To be connected to the appropriate office, call 1-800-669-4000. EEOC's TTY number is 1-800-800-3302.

For more information go to National Origin Discrimination and Religious Discrimination.
Beca T big internet hug to ya. Thank you..... I will follow up and pursue this. Sad part is my boss wants to hire me back. It is my old position. He won't because his employees are so irate about my return he just doesn't want to deal with it. I desperately need to work and I am a single dad that is being persecuted because I did not participate in the holiday luncheon and I was supposed to continue working with others that say things like " kids should never be around homosexuals because it has been proven they are child molesters. while I sat six feet away." It is venomous and toxic and has been allowed. When I ask for relief through the companies chain of command I am the one labeled as the trouble maker and they don't want be back because of it. THANK YOU AGAIN I will file a complaint............Florida is a right to work state but I will try.
best of luck man!
Retaliation for filing a charge or making a claim is against the law:

It's quite different here in Massachusetts. If anyone at work ever brings up religion, it's usually glossed over like "that's personal" or "that's your business" or it's just basically ignored. Even those who are semi-religious are turned off by the bible thumpers - and the bible thumpers know that.

If you work for a big enough company that has a written Non-Harassment policy, they are liable (as well as the threatening employees) and can be sued if they do not provide a safe environment in which to work.
As pat said, use the "hostile work environment" and let your boss know of your intentions if he gives in to the theist loons. I would think the last thing he would want is a discrimination law suit. Make a point of letting your boss know it's not personally directed at him, but that you won't be denied a job by a bunch of intolerant and abusive assholes and will use the courts for a remedy.
If you don't stand up for yourself, no one else will.
In any event - good luck to you.
Dwayne, if you do decide to file a complaint with the EEOC, I would STRONGLY advise you to get an attorney first. Whether the attorney is from FFRF or a firm that specializes in employment discrimination (I, personally and as an attorney, would seek the latter), don't go to a gun fight armed with only a knife. Once the complaint is filed, EEOC will notify your employer. You can bet your last dollar the employer will have a team of lawyers ready to pounce on you. If you have an attorney representing you, you level the playing field. If not, their lawyers will be allowed to personally contact you, and do their best to intimidate you into dropping it. If you're represented by counsel, the employer's attorneys can only contact your lawyer, who is in a better position to tell them in which body cavity of their choice to stuff their threats. And, in talking to your lawyer, let him/her not only know about your atheism, but about your sexual orientation, and which, or both, have resulted in the discrimination. You may be able to nail their hide on more than one legal theory.

Again - best of luck!!!!




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