DEARBORN, Mich. — A former contractor for Ford Motor Company has filed a federal lawsuit against the automotive giant and its affiliated employment service for allegedly firing him last year when he disagreed with the company’s views on homosexuality.
As previously reported, Thomas Banks has worked as a design and release engineer for Ford since 2011—that is until last August when he was fired on an accusation that he had violated the company’s “anti-harassment” policy for responding to an email employee newsletter from the company. The newsletter contained an article regarding the 20th anniversary of Ford’s Gay, Lesbian Or Bisexual Employees advocacy group (GLOBE).
Banks replied with a comment to express disagreement.
“Endorsing and promoting sodomy is of benefit to no one,” he wrote. “This topic is disruptive to the workplace and is an assault on Christians and morality, as well as antithetical to our design and our survival. Immoral sexual conduct should not be a topic for an automotive manufacturer to endorse or promote.”
“Heterosexual behavior creates life—homosexual behavior leads to death,” Banks continued.
But after submitting the comment, the contractor received an email from a human relations representative, requesting a meeting to “discuss something that was brought to my attention.” When Banks met with the individual, he was informed that he might have violated the company’s anti-harassment policy because of the comment he submitted.
He later received a voicemail informing him that he had been fired.
With the assistance of the Texas-based Liberty Institute, Banks filed a complaint in January with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), contending that Ford had violated Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act and the Civil Rights Act of 1991. The EEOC decided not to pursue the complaint this past April, prompting Banks to move forward with a federal lawsuit, including against employment agency Rapid Global Business Solutions.
He is seeking damages for loss of wages, mental anguish, emotional distress, humiliation, shame and anxiety.
“We are disappointed that Ford Motor Company terminated an employee solely because he expressed his faith to the company in a forum where input was solicited,” said Liberty Counsel attorney Cleve Doty in a statement. “Despite federal law protecting religious employees, Ford punished an employee for his beliefs rather than encouraging a truly diverse workplace where, like America, employees are free to express a wide range of religious and personal beliefs.”
“At Ford, if you speak about your faith, you may be terminated—at least until Ford is held accountable,” he added.
Ford has declined to comment on the lawsuit as it has not yet reviewed the complaint.