Middlebury Community Schools in Indiana has been cooperating with Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, a federal organization, since a former German language teacher claimed he was fired because of his religious beliefs. Kevin Pack was fired in April 2014 based on poor performance but according to his complaint with the EEOC, he was fired only after school authorities discovered he is an atheist.
In the United States, it is illegal for an employer to make employment decisions based on an employee’s religious beliefs and the EEOC is the organization that handles claims related to employment discrimination.
According to Tim Shelly, local attorney, an EEOC claim can be filed by any individual who believes he or she has been unlawfully discriminated against at a workplace. Most people who make such a claim receive a right to sue letter from the EEOC.
“In a vast majority of cases that’s what happens. That letter allows the person to find an attorney who would represent him in a traditional lawsuit,” said Shelly.
Upon receiving the letter, Pack will be able to do one of the four things listed below:
- He can decide not to sue.
- He can hire an attorney, sue his employer and lose the case.
- He can sue the employer and win the case, after which his former employer will have to pay him some kind of compensation.
- He can sue after which the judge can urge both parties to settle the matter through mediation.
Jane Allen, superintendent of Middlebury Community Schools, said Pack’s claims might not affect the school corporation in the least. Even if he was to take them to court, Middlebury Schools has liability and property insurances that would surely cover the attorney fees. The school has been cooperating with the EEOC to provide all the information the organization needs in investigating the case.