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Lighting Company Allegedly Turned Down Job Applicant For Not Being Christian Enough

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It's not exactly common during job interviews, for the interviewer to ask which churches you've attended the past few years, and whether you've been "saved."

But that's what Edward Wolfe says happened to him.

Wolfe is involved in a lawsuit against Voss Lighting, a Nebraska-based lighting supply chain. Wolfe says he applied to be a supervisor last year at Voss's Tulsa location, and that it looked like he might have a shot. The person who initially reviewed his resume allegedly told Wolfe he was a "perfect fit." But that was before Wolfe went in for an interview with the branch manager, Randy Tidwell.

According to the lawsuit, filed Tuesday in Oklahoma's Northern District Court, Tidwell asked Wolfe "to identify every church he has attended over the past several years," as well as "where and when Wolfe was 'saved,' and the circumstances that led up to it." Tidwell also allegedly asked if Wolfe "'would have a problem' coming into work early to attend Bible study before clocking-in."

The suit goes on to allege that "[t]hroughout the interview, Tidwell expressed overt agitation and disapproval at Wolfe’s responses to his religious line of questioning."

Wolfe says he didn't end up getting offered the job.

If Wolfe's allegations prove true, Tidwell's actions would fly in the face of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Under Title VII of that act, employers can't make discriminatory hiring decisions on the basis of race, sex, nationality -- or religion.

Now, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission -- a federal agency that investigates discrimination cases -- has taken up Wolfe's cause, filing a lawsuit against Voss.

An executive at Voss told the Tulsa World that Voss ended up hiring another candidate who "had more lighting product experience and was more qualified" than Wolfe. The executive said that Wolfe's religious beliefs had nothing to do with the company's decision not to hire him.

As the World notes, Voss's website describes the company as having both a business mission -- to sell lighting products -- and a "Biblical mission," to "'tell' everyone we can about God’s soul-saving, life-transforming gospel message as Jesus instructed believers to do."

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