Employee Proselytized to Co-Workers, Sued for Harassment

Born-again Christian Kenneth Weiss lost a Supreme Court appeal to overturn a decision made in favor of his employer REN Laboratories of Florida for firing Weiss after he gave a Bible to a Muslim co-worker, pointed out scripture verses that describe homosexuality as “vile” and “unseemly” to a lesbian colleague, “laid hands” on another co-worker who was ill, prayed over a malfunctioning office machine, and led the office in prayer. His employer fired him for harassing his professional peers, but Weiss now claims he was the one being harassed, and is suing REN Labs under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Claiming religious discrimination, Weiss and his conservative representation, the Rutherford Institute, want to use this case to provide guidelines for what is being called “workplace witnessing.”

After losing the Supreme Court appeal, Weiss’s case was returned to Florida for trial. A jury must decide whether Weiss was wrongly terminated. Earlier in the case, a Florida jury decided that it was religious discrimination, but the judge threw out the verdict. The Rutherford Institute, the Virginia-based conservative organization handling the case, is an anti-choice, anti-women’s rights group that takes on a range of issues, from promoting prayer in public schools to defending the “rights” of fetuses over the rights of women.


Associated Press, 10/30/2001

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