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US Man Fired for Refusing to Attend Bible Study, Sues Boss For $800,000

Coleman, who initially took part in the weekly, hour-long Bible classes for six months out of the fear of losing his job, is now set to seek $800,000 from the company after its owner threatened him, saying that it’s mandatory to attend the classes if he wanted to work there.

News18.com

Updated:September 1, 2018, 1:48 PM IST
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US Man Fired for Refusing to Attend Bible Study, Sues Boss For $800,000
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Ryan Coleman, a 34-year-old painter is suing Dahled Up Construction, a company based south of Portland, Oregon, for allegedly firing him after he refused to participate in the Christian Bible group for employees.

Coleman, who initially took part in the weekly, hour-long Bible classes for six months out of the fear of losing his job, is now set to seek $800,000 from the company after its owner threatened him, saying that it’s mandatory to attend the classes if he wanted to work there.

Coleman told The Washington Post that his multiple attempts to explain the company owner Joel Dahl, that he had different beliefs went in vain as Dahl said, "If you want to keep your job, everybody needs to attend. If not, I'm going to be forced to replace you."

Coleman is suing for $50,000 for alleged loss of income, and an additional $750,000 for the inflicted mental stress and embarrassment.

Half Caucasian and half Native American, with both Cherokee and Blackfoot heritage, Coleman said he wasn’t aware of the Bible sessions until after he started working at the company.

Being a not practicing Christian, he told The Post that on account of feeling uncomfortable at the sessions, he also tried asking Dahl if he could schedule pending work and appointments during those hours instead, but was denied permission every time.

In April, Coleman allegedly told Dahl in a phone call that he had a right not to attend the Christian Bible study, after which he was fired.

Company owner Dahl, has once served time in prison for attempted second-degree assault and has also struggled with drugs and alcohol.

According to The Post, Dahl’s attorney Kent Hickam described him as a “second-chance employer”, as the idea behind starting Dahled Up Construction after years of staying sober, was to hire similar convicted felons or the ones who have battled addiction problems.

Coleman too, has a past felony record and has served time in prison for child neglect and sales of methamphetamine. However, he has been sober for years and recently won custody of his 10- and 14-year-old sons.

Despite repeated queries posed by The Post, Hickman refused to clarify whether the Bible sessions were mandatory. “The session was mandatory for employees, Hickam said, "There's a lot of great lessons to be learned from the Bible, and I think it's wonderful he made this opportunity available for his employees."

Coleman's attorney, Corinne Schram, told The Post that she knows of no other reason for why Coleman was let go.

Dahled Up Construction's website links to a Facebook page that has been taken down. The Video ads of the company say it specializes in painting, roofing and home remodeling.

Hopeful that his case serves as an example for others, Coleman told The Post, "It doesn't matter if you believe in Allah or Buddha or anybody. It should not be used against you if you're trying to make a paycheck for a company you enjoy working for. It's your right."
| Edited by: Zoya Mateen
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