(RNS) — A former employee of Christian finance guru Dave Ramsey is suing his former boss for religious discrimination, claiming he was fired for putting his faith in science and not prayer during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Lawyers for Brad Amos filed a complaint Monday (Dec. 13) in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee, alleging there was a “cult-like” environment at the Lampo Group LLC, the company Ramsey leads near Nashville.
The complaint claims Lampo, better known as Ramsey Solutions, violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act by requiring employees to abide by Ramsey’s religious beliefs about COVID-19.
Ramsey — known for his “Financial Peace University” programs taught at churches — has been an outspoken critic of COVID-19-related health restrictions, ridiculing those who wear masks and requiring employees to come to work in the office through the pandemic. Those who disagree with Ramsey’s views on how to respond to COVID-19 are seen as disloyal, according to the complaint.
The complaint cites comments made by Ramsey early in the pandemic, saying that anyone who wore a mask was a “wuss.” Ramsey has also threatened to fire employees who complained to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration about how the company has handled COVID-19.
“So whoever you are, you moron, you did absolutely no good, except piss me off,” he told staff during a May 2020 meeting where the OSHA complaint was discussed, 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.”
According to the complaint, Amos, a video editor, holds strong religious convictions about caring for his family’s health and requested to be able to work from home in order to safeguard their well-being. That request, according to the complaint, was seen as a “weakness of spirit.”
“Lampo expected its employees to adopt the religious view of Mr. Ramsey that taking COVID-19 precautions demonstrated ‘weakness of spirit’ and prayer was the proper way to avoid COVID-19 infection,” the complaint states. “In contrast, Plaintiff’s religious beliefs required him to heed the advice of science to protect his family from a deadly disease.”
When Amos refused to comply with Ramsey’s views, according to the complaint, he was fired.
Ramsey Solutions denied Amos’ claims in a statement emailed Monday to RNS.
“Mr. Amos’ lawsuit has absolutely no merit,” Ramsey Solutions said. “It appears its only goal is to smear Ramsey Solutions’ reputation and extort a large settlement. Ramsey Solutions is fully prepared to defend this lawsuit and prevail.”
The federal lawsuit Amos filed is similar to a complaint filed in April in Chancery Court for Williamson County, Tennessee, where Ramsey Solutions is headquartered. That state court complaint was later withdrawn.
Ramsey Solutions is currently involved with three other federal lawsuits. In one case, Ramsey fired an employee, who is not married, after she told her boss that she was pregnant. That employee, Caitlin O’Connor, claims the company discriminated against her for being pregnant. The company countered by saying the former employee was fired for having extramarital sex, which violates company policy.
O’Connor also claimed religious discrimination, which the court rejected.
Another former employee sued Ramsey Solutions in September 2021, claiming she was told to resign because she was gay. That lawsuit, filed by lawyers for Julie Anne Stamps, alleges that Ramsey views homosexuality as sinful — a claim the company has denied in court.
Ramsey is also involved in a lawsuit with Marriott over a conference that was relocated after a Marriott resort required guests to wear masks. Ramsey refused to comply with that requirement and moved the conference — a decision that allegedly cost millions.
His company came under fire last year for hosting a massive Christmas party where masks were not required. Ramsey Solutions was also dropped from Fortune’s best places to work list after being sued by O’Connor.