Thomas Banks of Michigan filed a lawsuit against his employer Rapid Global Business Solutions and Ford for what he calls a violation of his civil rights.
Banks lost a design job from Ford in August of 2014 because the automotive company claims that he violated their anti-harassment policy by making an anti-gay statement.
According to this recent Detroit Free Press article, Banks says he was fired for speaking out about his religious beliefs. Banks had commented on an article on Ford’s Intranet that discussed Ford’s efforts to make the company more pro-LGBT. He had condemned Ford for “endorsing and supporting sodomy” and said that Ford’s stance was an “assault on morality”.
Banks also commented, "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."
In a more colorful comment Banks wrote, “Homosexuality would ultimately lead to the death of civilization”.
No matter the strength of the comments or the perceived sentiment, the case at its core is about the 1st amendment. It is about the freedom of speech and freedom of religion. If one entity can promote their beliefs and values, a separate entity should be able to voice their beliefs and values as well, even if their values clash.
The lawsuit seeks damages for loss of wages, mental anguish, shame, emotional distress, anxiety, and humiliation. “I was stunned to realize that I was fired over expressing my faith in a single comment”, Banks had said at the time of the firing.
What do you think? Was he wrongly terminated? Were his comments too harsh? We would love to hear your thoughts.