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Court rules Walmart was justified in firing anti-gay employee for harassment

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

A federal appeals court in Illinois has ruled that Walmart Stores did not violate an employee’s civil rights when it fired her for making anti-gay comments towards a lesbian co-worker at a store in Joliet, Ill.

Tanisha Matthews claimed religious discrimination under the 1964 Civil Rights Act, and that she was fired for her religious-based statements about gay people.

Gay City News reports:

According to the unsigned ruling, Tanisha Matthews, who describes herself as an Apostolic Christian, worked as an overnight stocker at a Walmart store … while on a break, she took part in a heated conversation with other employees about God and homosexuality.

Another employee who participated reported to management that Matthews was “screaming over her” that God does not accept gays, they should not “be on earth,” and they will “go to hell” because they are not “right in the head.” During a company investigation of the incident, five other employees confirmed that Matthews said gays are sinners who are going to hell.

Walmart fired Matthews after the it concluded that she had engaged in harassment of co-workers, in violation of the company’s Discrimination and Harassment Prevention Policy. Matthews sued the retailer, claiming she was fired for expressing her religious beliefs.

The ruling stated, “If Matthews is arguing that Walmart must permit her to admonish gays at work to accommodate her religion, the claim fails.”

Walmart fired Matthews “because she violated company policy when she harassed a co-worker, not because of her beliefs,” the court found.

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Filed under: Illinois

30 more reader comments:

  1. I will be shopping at walmart.

    Posted on Tuesday, April 5, 2011 at 5:36pm
  2. Yay for Walmart.

    Posted on Tuesday, April 5, 2011 at 5:38pm
  3. My brother-in-law works for corporate Walmart, and he supports me! (gay boy here) :)

    Posted on Tuesday, April 5, 2011 at 5:39pm
  4. yay!

    Posted on Tuesday, April 5, 2011 at 5:41pm
  5. Yes!

    Posted on Tuesday, April 5, 2011 at 5:41pm
  6. Fuck Yeah!

    Posted on Tuesday, April 5, 2011 at 5:43pm
  7. Yay! And pleasantly surprising too.

    Posted on Tuesday, April 5, 2011 at 5:44pm
  8. I always thought Walmarts was right wing. Glad they took a stand against harassment.

    Posted on Tuesday, April 5, 2011 at 5:45pm
  9. This makes me happy.

    Posted on Tuesday, April 5, 2011 at 5:46pm
  10. Me 2.

    Posted on Tuesday, April 5, 2011 at 5:52pm
  11. This put a smile on my face!

    Posted on Tuesday, April 5, 2011 at 6:00pm
  12. dang some good news!!

    Posted on Tuesday, April 5, 2011 at 6:03pm
  13. Good! Bitches!

    Posted on Tuesday, April 5, 2011 at 6:08pm
  14. Good! Bitches!

    Posted on Tuesday, April 5, 2011 at 6:08pm
  15. Great

    Posted on Tuesday, April 5, 2011 at 6:10pm
  16. That’s suprising for Walmart. Good though.

    Posted on Tuesday, April 5, 2011 at 6:17pm
  17. That’s suprising for Walmart. Good though.

    Posted on Tuesday, April 5, 2011 at 6:17pm
  18. A bit to much faith in Wal-Mart. They are a brutal company to work for. been there done that.

    Posted on Tuesday, April 5, 2011 at 6:21pm
  19. That gives me other reason to shop at Walmart! =)

    Posted on Tuesday, April 5, 2011 at 6:40pm
  20. This is good news.

    Posted on Tuesday, April 5, 2011 at 7:11pm
  21. bravo! hurray for walmart

    Posted on Tuesday, April 5, 2011 at 7:14pm
  22. this is a set of good example of equality

    Posted on Tuesday, April 5, 2011 at 7:25pm
  23. Walmart not far from Facebook’s Palo Alto / California office has almost no white people working there. Basically Asians and Latinos.

    Posted on Tuesday, April 5, 2011 at 7:36pm
  24. Walmart not far from Facebook’s Palo Alto / California office has almost no white people working there. Basically Asians and Latinos.

    Posted on Tuesday, April 5, 2011 at 7:36pm
  25. she would have been fired for harrasment anywayd even if it wasnt about gays

    Posted on Tuesday, April 5, 2011 at 9:16pm
  26. so a person can’t talk about their religion at work?

    Posted on Wednesday, April 6, 2011 at 3:24am
  27. Wonder if they would have fired if the comments were towards gays instead of lesbians?…

    Posted on Wednesday, April 6, 2011 at 7:01am
  28. Lol, I’m tired of ignorant bigots trying to use the free speech crap to get away with their garbage.

    Posted on Wednesday, April 6, 2011 at 2:39pm
  29. Lol, I’m tired of ignorant bigots trying to use the free speech crap to get away with their garbage.

    Posted on Wednesday, April 6, 2011 at 2:39pm
  30. i live very close to joliet illinois, thank god illinois doesnt have their head up their ass like alot of other states do

    Posted on Thursday, April 7, 2011 at 7:30am