The federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is suing a Greensboro-based company for religious discrimination.
The EEOC says Aurora Pro Services, a residential home and repair services company, fired employees who refused to participate in mandatory prayer meetings.
The lawsuit says that at least since June 2020 the company required all employees to attend daily employer-led Christian prayer meetings.
A construction manager who is atheist asked to be excused from the prayer portion of the meeting and was fired. An agnostic customer service representative who stopped attending the prayer meetings because of her religious beliefs was also terminated, according to the lawsuit.
Religious discrimination, harrassment and retaliation in the workplace is prohibited under federal law. The EEOC filed the lawsuit in North Carolina's middle district court this week. The agency is seeking compensatory and punitive damages and an end to what it calls the company's discriminatory practices.
“We are a Christian company that encourages prayer and encourages employees to openly express their Christian faith and disciple one another, we believe in the power of the Gospel,” company owner Oscar Lopez wrote in an emailed statement to WFDD. “I will die on a hill for our beliefs because Christ died a horrible death on a hill for our sins. We hope that when all of this is said and done, more companies will stand up for their Christian beliefs and bring the Gospel into their workplace without fear or shame.”
Lopez also says no employee has ever been fired or will ever be fired for refusing to believe in Christ or for refusing to pray.