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Ex-Ford Employee, Fired for Antigay Post, Claims Religious Discrimination

Ex-Ford Employee, Fired for Antigay Post, Claims Religious Discrimination

A Michigan job placement company and Ford are the targets of a new federal lawsuit by an ex-employee who claims his civil rights were violated when he expressed his antigay views, reported the Detroit Free Press.

Thomas Banks of Ypsilanti, Mich., accuses Ford of "endorsing and promoting sodomy." 

The former contract engineer's lawsuit names Rapid Global Business Solutions, an engineering and employment service in Troy, Mich., and Ford, accusing both of discrimination based on Banks's faith. 

Banks had worked at a Ford plant in Dearborn, Mich., for more than three years. He was fired August 4, 2014, a month after he went on an internal website to post comments that he said were made in defense of his Christian beliefs. 

An article on Ford's intranet lauded efforts to make Ford a more pro-LGBT environment, prompting Banks to leave a comment that proclaimed "Endorsing and promoting sodomy is of benefit to no one." Banks continued:

"This topic is disruptive to the workplace and is an assault on Christians and morality, as well as antithetical to our design and our survival. Immoral sexual conduct should not be a topic for an automotive manufacturer to endorse or promote."

Ford officials called him to a meeting, and after he confirmed he wrote the comments, he was told he violated Ford's anti-harassment policy and that his work for the automaker was terminated.

"I was stunned to realize that I was fired over expressing my faith in a single comment," Banks said in a statement at the time.

Then Rapid Global, the placement company that had found Banks the job at Ford, similarly determined Banks violated its own anti-harassment policies and also fired him. Banks claims the company's policies apply only to Rapid Global employees in New York City.

The suit seeks an unspecified amount for damages for loss of wages, mental anguish, emotional distress, humiliation, shame and anxiety.

Five months ago, the nonprofit and anti-LGBT Liberty Institute filed a complaint on Banks' behalf with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. But the EEOC decided not to pursue the complaint, notifying Banks and the Liberty Institute of its decision on April 13.

Both Ford and Rapid Global had no comment, the Free Press reports.

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