Worker alleges he was terminated because of religion

By Kasey Schefflin-Emrich | Aug 5, 2015

A Slatington man is suing his former employer, alleging religious discrimination was the reason he was terminated from his job.

William Houck filed a lawsuit July 8 in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania against NFI Industries, NFI Logistics, and NFI Interactive Logistics, alleging violations of the Civil Rights Act and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act.

According to the complaint, in April 2012, Houck began working for NFI as an operations manager, and prior to being hired, Houck informed the defendants that he was a devout Christian and couldn't work on Sundays unless there was an emergency. Houck alleges he was told his request to not work Sundays was an an acceptable religious accommodation.

The suit says Houck's project manager continuously pressured him into working more Sundays after Houck worked a Sunday during a busy period in October 2012. The project manager told Houck other employees were complaining they didn't think it was fair he didn't work Sundays and he wasn't working as hard as his coworkers, the lawsuit states.

Houck also alleges the project manager made derogatory comments regarding his religion during fall 2012. The suit states after Houck received a written final warning in February 2013, allegedly because he left his laptop at the office at the end of the day, to which he notes that he was never previously informed that he was required to bring his laptop home at night, he was placed on an unjustified 30-day performance improvement plan. Houck was terminated in April 2013 with the defendants saying he wasn't "getting his hands around" the job, according to the lawsuit.

The plaintiff alleges he was unlawfully terminated because of his religion and need for a religious accommodation, and the defendants' actions were in reckless disregard for his federally protected rights.

Houck seeks compensatory and punitive damages, attorney fees, court costs and other relief deemed appropriate by the court. He is represented by attorney James M. Duttera of Console Law Offices in Philadelphia.

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania case number: 5:15-cv-03788-JLS.

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