Two elementary schools were directly impacted by a massive tornado in the Oklahoma City area on Monday. It brings to mind a storm from a 1996 tornado which destroyed the Allardt Elementary School in Fentress County.More >>
Two elementary schools were directly impacted by a massive tornado in the Oklahoma City area on Monday. It brings to mind a storm from a 1996 tornado which destroyed the Allardt Elementary School in Fentress County. More >>
KNOXVILLE (WATE) - A Knoxville woman says she was fired from her job because of her religious beliefs.
Dawn Walters says one of her religious beliefs is to keep the Sabbath Day holy. To her this means not working on Sunday.
When she got a job at West Town Mall back in March to be part of the cleaning staff with Service Management Systems, her request to have Sundays off was granted.
But that all changed at the beginning of August.
"Why are you a Christian?," Walters claims her managers told her when she asked for Sundays off. "Why do you have to go to church on Sunday? We don't go to church on Sunday."
Walters says the hiring of a new manager changed everything and she was forced to work on Sundays.
"A friend came to me, a pastor friend who also works at the mall, and says here, go to www.christianlaw.org," said Walters, "Write these people, call these people, they can help you."
Walters was contacted by Barbara Weller, an attorney for the Christian Law Association.
"That is not legal," said Weller. "I think her case is amazingly open and shut."
After Walters told her manager what Weller said, he asked her to come to his office Friday. When she came in, she says he had a pile of write ups on his desk that she had never seen.
"He went through all the write ups and said 'You're fired'," said Walters.
Weller says by law companies must give their employees accommodations when it comes to their religious beliefs.
"If you have a sincere held religious belief about something and you believe to keep Sunday as a day of rest," explained Weller, "Then you request religious accommodation and your employer is required to grant you that accommodation unless they can demonstrate some undo burden on the company doing that."
Since Walters was granted Sundays off when she was hired, Weller says there should be no reason that would have to change.
"We are to stand up for what we believe in Christ, because if we don't, we lose every freedom, and this is just an example of it," said Walters.
Walters has been advised to file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which she plans to do next week. If they do not act on her complaint, she may hire an attorney to represent her.
6 News has reached out to Service Management Systems for comment. They have not returned our phone calls or e-mails.
Walters has started a Facebook page to keep people posted on her fight against her former employer.