January 24, 2007
Three fire alarm
Was Firey fired for not being on fire? (Hey, don’t blame me, I just report this stuff.)
A former executive of an Irvine car wax manufacturer alleges in a lawsuit that the company fired him because he had not pursued “a Christian lifestyle” and wasn’t “on fire for Jesus.”
Atticus O. Firey, 34, of Newport Beach contends Meguiar’s Inc. committed religious discri-
mination when it fired him in July after nearly 10 years with the company.
Company president Barry Meguiar repeatedly urged Firey, then the chief operating officer, to attend church, the suit alleges, and told him he was “robbing this company of the blessing of God by not being on your knees and on fire for Jesus.”
Meguiar, who is host of a cable TV and radio program called “Car Crazy,” did not return a call seeking comment. His lawyer, Richard Ruben, said religion had nothing to do with Firey’s firing. He said the company’s senior management decided to terminate Firey because his job performance was sub-par, with a management style that was “demeaning” and “negative.”
… The suit, filed Friday in Orange County Superior Court, says Meguiar sat in Firey’s office and read to him from the Bible, thrust Christian books on him and demanded he read them and forced managers to attend prayer meetings. When Firey asked about a promised bonus, the suit says, Meguiar said he would not give it to him until Firey joined a Christian church.
Confronted with his behavior, the suit says, Meguiar said he had the right to manage the business, which has some 300 employees, by the tenets of Pentecostal Christianity.
The company hired and fired employees based on religion, the suit says, with Meguiar tutoring executives on how to interview prospective employees in a way that elicited information on their religious beliefs. In one case, Meguiar asked a candidate whether he thought he would go to heaven or hell if he died today, the suit says. When the candidate said he was a Catholic trying to lead a virtuous life, the suit alleges, Meguiar replied that merely “being a good person and following a works-oriented religion” would not save him from hell.
I wonder if this had anything to do with Firey’s problems:
Firey, who is Meguiar’s former son-in-law, alleges in his suit that in another instance, his boss tried to block the hiring of an employee because she was living “in sin as a fornicator” with her boyfriend.
“If there were two candidates and one was a Christian but had lesser skills than a non-Christian, Mr. Meguiar would pick the Christian,” the suit alleges.
The truly scary thing is that I’ve used this company’s products.
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