Lawsuit: Worker fired for refusing to attend Bible study

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A man has filed an $800,000 lawsuit against a construction company, claiming the owner fired him after he refused to attend Bible study.

The Oregonian/OregonLive reports Ryan Coleman’s lawsuit was filed in Linn County Circuit Court last week.

It states that after he was hired as a painter for Dahled Up Construction owner Joel Dahl told him all employees were required to participate in regular Bible study sessions led by a Christian pastor during the work day.

The lawsuit says Coleman told Dahl that the requirement was illegal but Dahl wouldn’t budge.

The suit says Coleman obliged for nearly six months in order to keep his job but was fired after telling Dahl he couldn’t go anymore.

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Dahl’s Albany attorney, Kent Hickam, doesn’t dispute that Dahl requires employees to attend Bible study, but says it’s legal because Dahl pays them to attend.

Joel Dahl told News 8’s sister station KOIN 6 News the Bible study is “like a morale booster, a training where lessons of the bible are taught. And I pay guys to be there. We work at 7 until 4:30 in the afternoon. So at Tuesdays we start at the Helping Hands Shelter and the pastor there teaches us lessons out of the Bible.”

But Coleman told KOIN 6 News Dahl need to understand “there are all walks of life with different beliefs that work this trade. It shouldn’t matter what God you pray to. We’re here to work and work hard and make you money and make you successful and in turn be appreciated.”