NASHVILLE (RNS) — The company owned by Christian personal finance adviser and radio host Dave Ramsey is being sued for alleged religious discrimination and misrepresentation.
A complaint filed Thursday (April 15) in a county court alleges the Lampo Group, which does business as Ramsey Solutions, was run as a “religious cult” and required employees to give “complete and total submission to Dave Ramsey and his views of the world to maintain employment.”
Ramsey, whose Financial Peace University materials on personal finances are used by churches nationwide, is also named as a defendant.
The complaint also alleges Ramsey’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic put employees and their families at risk.
Lawyers for Brad Amos, a former Ramsey Solutions video editor, alleged their client was fired by the company because he objected to Ramsey’s views on the COVID-19 pandemic. Ramsey has consistently downplayed the risk of COVID-19, has referred to those who wear masks as “wusses” and barred employees from working at home for much of the pandemic.
The company also held a mostly maskless, in-person Christmas party and has sued a Florida hotel for breach of contract after the hotel said it would require attendees at a Ramsey conference to wear masks.
The complaint alleges that Ramsey’s views on the pandemic are largely shaped by religion and that Amos was fired for disagreeing with those religious views.
“Plaintiff was terminated for failing to follow Defendant’s particular view that taking precautions other than prayer against COVID infection would make a person fall out of God’s favor,” the complaint states.
The lawsuit was filed in the Chancery Court for Williamson County, Tennessee, where Ramsey Solutions is headquartered.
According to the complaint, Amos was editing movie trailers in California when he was approached in 2019 by a recruiter for Ramsey Solutions. During what the complaint described as a six-month interview process, Amos became concerned after hearing of a “cult-like culture” at Ramsey. He was also concerned that despite its claims, Ramsey was not a “family-friendly” place to work.
Jonathan Street, one of Amos’ attorneys, told Religion News Service his client had raised concerns to Ramsey leaders and was assured the rumors were not true and that the company had a “strong commitment to family time for employees.” The lawsuit claims Amos was misled in the hiring process.
Street said his client’s most pressing concern was his family’s well-being.
Amos’ wife and son are at high risk for complications of COVID-19, Street said, and his requests to work at home were denied. The lawsuit alleges any concerns about COVID-19 were dismissed as “weakness of spirit,” and the spouses of company employees were required to support Ramsey’s views on COVID.
In response to the lawsuit, Ramsey Solutions told RNS via email that the suit is “full of blatantly false allegations that have no merit.” The organization accused Amos of “inflammatory and false statements” and said they are prepared to take action, citing slander and defamation. “It appears the goal of this lawsuit is to smear Ramsey Solutions’ reputation and extort a large settlement, and we are fully prepared to defend this lawsuit and prevail.”
The lawsuit also cites a May 2020 meeting, when Ramsey threatened to fire an employee who had filed an OSHA complaint about the company’s handling of COVID-19. During an all-staff meeting, Ramsey told staff the OSHA complaint would not affect the company.
“So whoever you are, you moron, you did absolutely no good, except piss me off,” he told staff during that meeting, as RNS has previously reported. “You are not welcome here if you are willing to do stuff like that. If you are really scared and you really think that leadership is trying to kill you … please, we love you. Just leave. We really don’t want you here.”
The complaint filed by Amos’ attorney cites RNS coverage of Ramsey Solutions.
Ramsey Solutions is also being sued by a former employee named Caitlin O’Connor, who claims she was fired for being pregnant and unmarried. The company had defended her firing, saying she was fired for having premarital sex, which company policy bans. In defending its policies, Ramsey Solutions has also claimed to have fired a total of eight employees since 2016 for premarital sex.
News of the O’Connor lawsuit led Inc. magazine to drop the company from its 2020 “Best Workplaces” list.
Ramsey personality and author Chris Hogan recently resigned from the company for violating undisclosed Ramsey Solutions’ policies. Leaders at Ramsey had long backed Hogan, despite concerns about his conduct.
Ramsey has boasted of his company’s code of conduct, which includes a “righteous living” core value, and his ability to control the personal lives of employees.
“I’ve got a right to tell my employees whatever I want to tell them,” he said in a Q&A segment about the company code posted on the company website. “They freaking work for me.”
This story has been updated with a statement from Ramsey Solutions.