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Pittsburgh employees fired for religious beliefs

Nine Pittsburgh workers were fired recently from their jobs at a local private school. They say that they were wrongfully terminated because of their religious beliefs and that there was a longstanding divide between them and the other employees at the private religious school.

The nine former educators are associated with the same religious group as the founder of the school, but became a minority among the staff.

According to the complaint, the principal of the school thought that the employees who were members of the organization were "too spiritual" and after they were fired she told the audience at a staff meeting that the school could "move on now that they're all gone." Their attorney says that they were fired because of their religious expression.

When it comes to religious discrimination, it doesn't matter if the victims of the discrimination held seemingly similar beliefs to the rest of the employees. The important element is that these employees were fired based on their association with a particular religious group that was different from the one that their bosses are associated with.

Religious discrimination of any kind is unacceptable and it is disheartening to read about cases of discrimination in schools. This case may be complicated by some limited allowances made by the courts for religious schools which may discriminate against employees who are charged with ministerial duties. The definition is relatively narrow but could apply to employees who are involved in some religious instruction.

The lawsuit was filed in federal district court in Pennsylvania.

Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, "9 fired employees sue Imani Christian Academy," Rich Lord, April 22, 2013.

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