Thursday, April 21, 2011

Anti-Catholic Conversations Created Hostile Work Environment

In Haley v. Kopf, (AK St. Commn. Hum Rts., April 8, 2011), the Alaska State Commission for Human Rights awarded a former employee of a general store damages of $76,853 after finding that the store's owner violated AS 18.80.220(a)(1) by creating a hostile work environment based on religion. After Paul Kopf purchased Goldstream General Store, he began talking about religion extensively and made anti-Catholic statements to Lynn Dowler, a 27-year employee who was currently the store manger. She and three other employees resigned after receiving a new set of work rules from Kopf, one of which stated: "The OWNER of this BUSINESS is a very active CHRISTIAN who by nature of personality strives with lifetime goals to the benefit of humanity. The OWNER is by nature prone to religious and philosophic conversations. Anyone who thinks they can WEAR their religion/ philosophy/ ideology/ expression of who they are and does not want to hear someone else's said state of being will be considered hypocritical and incompatible with the group...." AP reports on the decision.