Jottings By An Employer's Lawyer

Monday, July 21, 2003

What's Not To Like About A Religious Discrimination Case Featuring Go-Go Juice and Truckers Luv It

The AP story in the Times Picayune of a jury verdict doesn't qualify for the Million Dollar Verdict report, since it is only $500,000, but its unusual facts make it worth mentioning. Healthworks International, which distributes dietary supplements, the most well known of which are Go-Go Juice and Truckers Luv It. It now has another claim to fame having lost their second jury trial of religious discrimination claims. Rather than the usual allegation that an employer prohibited a religious practice of an employee, here the claim is that the employer discriminated against Michael Lee Johnson because he would not join the Apostolic Tabernacle Church.

And in a second irony, especially for those of us who generally think federal court is a better place for employment law suits, Johnson's wife's claim of religious discrimination was earlier tried in state court where she won $40,000. The appeals court decision [pdf] affirming the $40,000 verdict outlines some of the practices that she and her husband endured.

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