First Liberty Briefing: Nondiscrimination Training Turns into Religious Discrimination

First Liberty Briefing: Nondiscrimination Training Turns into Religious Discrimination April 4, 2017

Employees at the Minnesota Department of Corrections were required to attend nondiscrimination training. While some employees nodded off, completed paperwork or read, others read their Bible in silent protest. The three employees that read their Bibles were reprimanded. Learn what the Court of Appeals for the Eight Circuit said about the case at

Thomas Altman, Kristin Larson, and Kenneth Yackley were employed by the Minnesota Department of Corrections. Like many government agencies do, the State agency assembled employees for training on non-discrimination in the workplace.

Well, these employees did not agree with the politically correct bent of this particular training, but they were nonetheless required to attend. While several employees disliked the training out of sheer boredom, Altman and his colleagues had a moral objection to the content of the training. So, ahead of the training, the three agreed to participate minimally and read their Bibles silently to themselves.

While they read their Bibles in silent protest, other employees nodded off, did paperwork, or read a secular publication of some sort.

After the training session, the three Bible reading employees were issued a letter of reprimand. Those who fell asleep, or read the newspaper, or did paperwork were not punished at all.

three employees that read their Bibles were reprimanded
Image: Bernard Starr

So Altman and friends sued the Department of Corrections.

The Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit sent the case back to the District Court, noting that the Court should have allowed the jury to determine whether the employer was motivated to punish these employees because of their religious activity.

Religious discrimination in the workplace is unlawful. But, sometimes it takes a jury to determine whether an employer’s actions were motivated by hostility toward religion.

To learn how First Liberty is protecting Religious Liberty for all Americans, visit

 First Liberty Institute is the largest organization in the nation dedicated exclusively to protecting religious freedom for all Americans. Find out more here.

(This podcast is by First Liberty Briefing. Discovered by e2 media network and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not emedia network, and audio is streamed directly from their servers.)

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