The Salvation Army has announced a settlement in a religious discrimination lawsuit by former employees, who claimed that the organization forced them to adhere to its own religious policies, even when they worked on charitable programs that are funded by the government.
The settlement was announced by the New York division of the Salvation Army, and under the terms of the settlement, employees working on government-supported services will be provided documents confirming that the organization will not ask them about their religious beliefs or practices, or ask them to adhere to its own religious policies. The plaintiffs in this case, had filed the lawsuit almost a decade ago, and they were represented by the New York Civil Liberties Union.
According to the allegations against the Salvation Army, the organization required both employees as well as job applicants to acknowledge that the organization's mission was to provide services that adhere to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. That was under the terms of a 2000 Salvation Army reorganization that came after the Bush Administration cleared the way for evangelical churches to get federal funds for faith-based initiatives.
The plaintiffs in this lawsuit had also alleged that at the time of applying for the job, they were asked to identify their church denomination, and confirm how many times they went to church. Employees also lost their jobs or were threatened with termination when they failed to reveal their religious practices.
Under the terms of the settlement however, the Salvation Army will not admit to any wrongdoing. The organization runs many government- funded services, including day care services and homeless shelters. Under the terms of the settlement, the Salvation Army continues to retain the right to promote and practice its religion. However, the organization has agreed not to use federal funds to discriminate against employees.