ICC Note: In yet another case of discrimination against Christian belief in the workplace, a military veteran and hospital employee in California has been ordered to remove “God Bless America” from his work e-mail signature. The hospital employee, Boots Hawks, complied with the order but told his supervisor that he would seek legal counsel, for which he was placed on two days leave for “insubordination.” Eventually, the hospital issued a new policy requiring all employees to adopt a standardized signature block with no deviations.
5/1/2014 United States (ONN) – A legal organization dedicated to the defense of religious liberty says a California hospital accused of silencing an employee’s use of the phrase “God Bless America” from email correspondence is responding with more censorship.
Pacific Justice Institute represents SFC Boots Hawks (USA-Ret.), a 20-year military veteran who now works in the Quality Management office at Dameron Hospital in Stockton, where he has been recognized with such distinctions as “Employee of the Year.”
In November 2013, a hospital supervisor instructed Hawks to remove the phrase “God Bless America” from his e-mail signature block. The phrase was one of three in the signature block. A supervisor reportedly was concerned that someone might be offended by the phrase and suggested it was equivalent to an employee saying “Death to Christians.”
Brad Dacus, president of Pacific Justice Institute, tells OneNewsNow that federal employment law forbids any employer from engaging in harassment of employees because of their sincerely held beliefs and convictions.
Dacus, Brad (PJI)”Without question this hospital’s treatment of this war veteran – who was [honored as] Employee of the Year recently by the hospital – has had his rights trampled on and has suffered harassment simply because of the phrase ‘God Bless America,'” says Dacus.
Even though Hawks complied with the supervisor’s directive, he was placed on two days’ leave for “insubordination” because he said he wanted to seek legal counsel. A subsequent letter from Pacific Justice Institute motivated the hospital to withdraw the charge of insubordination and change the two days to paid leave – but still, the hospital insisted he not say “God Bless America.”