Victim of a workplace Bible pest is awarded a large payout

Victim of a workplace Bible pest is awarded a large payout July 10, 2019

A Bible-thumping homophobic civil servant has cost the Californian city of San Diego $300,000.

Screenshot via NBC7/San Diego Downtown News/Sande Lollis

Sheila Beale, above, a Deputy Director of the City’s Archives and Records Management Department, was the subject of a lawsuit launched by a fellow employee, Rasean Johnson, that alleged Beale was a religious bully who imposed her views on colleagues.

Johnson, according to court documents obtained by NBC 7 Investigates, started working for the City as a Records Stock Clerk in 2004. For a number of years, Johnson worked alongside then-records analyst, and current Deputy Director, Beale.

In the years that followed, Johnson says Beale began to “inject” her religious beliefs into him and others in the office.

The first incident, according to the lawsuit, occurred in 2008 as voters were asked to vote on Proposition 8, a ballot initiative which would have prevented same-sex marriage in California.

Beale asked Johnson if he thought it was “okay if gays marry”. When Johnson replied that he had no problem with people marrying whomever they want, Beale told him he was “not a child of God”.

Another worker overheard the conversation, according to the lawsuit, and reported it to then-Deputy Director Katherine Joy.

Johnson lodged a formal complaint with the city in October 2015. The city found enough evidence to verify Johnson’s complaint. But, in an astonishing move, officials opted to transfer Johnson and leave Beale in place as Deputy Director.

Two years later Johnson lodged a civil complaint that said:

Johnson used to look at the City’s official seal as a source of pride and inspiration but now its maxim, Semper Vigilans (‘ever vigilant’), seems ironic and hypocritical. Johnson had done everything in his power to stem Beale’s inappropriate conduct: participating in mediation, ignoring her derogatory comments, and avoiding unnecessary interactions.

But Beale persisted. Even after the City’s investigation confirmed Beale had engaged in unlawful conduct, it took no action against her and, instead, stripped Johnson of his Supervisor job title and transferred him to a remote job site.

In his complaint, Johnson alleged Beale began leading “prayer sessions” in her new role as Deputy Director and urged her employees to attend church.

During a subsequent performance review, Beale allegedly cautioned Johnson that he should start reading his Bible, adding:

Even good people go to hell if they don’t give their life to the work of God.

Beale, allegedly, went so far as to instruct other employees not to follow Johnson’s orders:

Because he was a non-believer.

Johnson was later demoted from his supervisor position.

A federal jury found the city placed Johnson in an “adverse employment action.” The jury initially awarded Johnson $350,000 but that amount was later reduced to $300,000, due to federal guidelines.

Members of the jury also found that the city removed Johnson from his position for reporting Beale, and that he suffered emotionally from Beale’s treatment.

Attorney Dan Eaton specialises in employment law and is not connected with this case. Eaton says employers are required to protect all employees regardless of religious affiliation, or lack of.

A lot of people think there’s only workplace sex harassment but a hostile work environment can include harassment based on race, religion, and gender. You have to be careful, because to the extent that it affects the environment of those who don’t share the employee’s religious beliefs, that’s where you run into conflict.

A city spokesperson confirmed that Beale is still employed as a Deputy Director. According to a compensation report obtained by NBC 7, Beale earned $121,679 in 2018.

Rasean Johnson now works as an administrative aide.

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  • Michael Neville

    So even though Johnson gets a big payout, Beale continues to be the Deputy Director, in a position to dictate to subordinates and get them demoted if they don’t “believe in God”.

  • rubaxter

    Civil Service

  • Michael Neville

    In civil service one can be demoted and even fired for “instituting and maintaining a hostile work environment.”

  • Jim Jones

    > but that amount was later reduced to $300,000, due to federal guidelines.

    Bleep that. Should be upped to a couple of million.

  • The Bofa on the Sofa

    Johnson lodged a formal complaint with the city in October 2015. The city found enough evidence to verify Johnson’s complaint. But, in an astonishing move, officials opted to transfer Johnson and leave Beale in place as Deputy Director.

    When will people learn?

    When someone is found to be misbehaving, the appropriate response is to force THEM to change, not the victims.

    There is no reason that a victim should have to be moved to avoid being victimized.

  • ralphmeyer

    They should have kicked Beale OUT!

  • steveiam

    The bible humpers now feel enabled under Trump/Pence. This pair, and a gaggle of rightwingnuts in the Cabinet believe they have the right to PUSH the ‘right’ religion, e.g. Christianity and its doctrine.

  • Mustafa Curtess

    But in this instance – one wasn’t.)

  • Mustafa Curtess

    Nothing will change until we atheists are the majority. (It’s inevitable – even tho none of us may live to experience it.)

  • Tusk

    They’re only pushing it to extinction… People are sick of the plight of religious nuts. And adding trump, just sealed their fate. Far too long they have poisoned this country with their “faith.” Utilizing ignorance to push their own twisted agenda.

  • AnzaSummer

    I’ve known her for a long, long time. Long before she when to work in Records. I had to complain about her then because she would play sermons at full volume. She had a lot of people covering up for her and it’s a shame that some much tax payer money has been wasted.

  • Wisdom, Justice, Love

    Find out who goes to her church. She was encouraged for a reason. Cronyism and/or nepotism.

  • rubaxter

    ONLY IF people want to take the time to make it so.

    My experience says if it’s reached this level, there are a lot of people who just want this to GO AWAY, and because of their laziness in not documenting this abuse, there is little chance of getting rid of this irritant without having to PAY HER TO LEAVE, TOO.

    That’s the civil service/bureaucratic way. Management can’t admit mistakes without being ‘a mistake’ themselves.

    The reason the suit was filed was because IT WASN’T SO TO BEGIN WITH!

    Pls See above testimony from an eyewitness on the ‘culture’ in this organization.

    Are you going to argue against someone who says they were there?!

    IF a frog had wings …”

    Next slide …

  • BertB

    This is outrageous! Beale still has her job, was apparently not even reprimanded for her Bible-bullying.
    And Johnson got a payout…not very big, actually…and is still demoted from his position.
    Bottom line: Beale won and even though Johnson got a little money…he lost.

  • Given the history of this case — specifically the perpetrator’s implicitly reinforced power to torment non-Christians (not to mention the fact we already know the Robbers’ Court will reverse the judgement) — what it ultimately proves is the viciously oppressive extent to which the United States was already a ChristoNazi theocracy even before der Trumpenfuehrer made it official.

  • BertB


  • Gregory Mead

    This is what the 1st Amendment is supposed to protect us from. SD didn’t do its job, so the courts did.

    When people complain that “people should be able to talk about their
    religion at work”, I’ve always pointed out that the demonstration of
    religious preference calls into question their impartiality, and that’s
    demonstrated here.

  • Judgeforyourself37

    It is people, such as Beale, who give even progressive, non proselytizing Christians a bad name. People hear her and think that all Christians are bats$%t crazy, right wing, fundamentalists.

  • Judgeforyourself37

    Those “ChristoNazi Theocrats help put that orangutan in the White House. With apologies to all orangutans.

  • Jam

    I agree, but since people refuse to learn from history, chances are we’ll do the same thing to believers some day. ouch.

  • BertB

    What goes around comes around.

  • Mustafa Curtess

    Its inevitablw. Theposteritu of mankind restsinthr elimintion of suerstito

  • vmelkon

    “The reason the suit was filed was because IT WASN’T SO TO BEGIN WITH!”

    ==It wasn’t what to begin with?

  • vmelkon

    “When someone is found to be misbehaving, the appropriate response is to force THEM to change, not the victims.
    There is no reason that a victim should have to be moved to avoid being victimized.”

    ==Most likely the higher ups are also christian and they are against gays getting married and they want everyone to be a christian. The majority rules. This happened in the USA where the line between government and religion has been eliminated since the Soviet Union formed.

  • vmelkon

    It is either nepotism or cronyism. Toss in christianism assholism.

  • Matt G

    Especially in light of Beale’s salary.

  • Matt G

    There was some GOP (or former GOP) official who recently made exactly this point. But you make your bed you lie in it, right?

  • Matt G

    Which is why progressive religious people need to leave too. I appreciate what they’ve done throughout history to advance humanist values, but these values stand on their own – they don’t require religious support.

  • Dale Porter

    Shows a culture of religious bias and corruption in the upper management of S.D. county

  • BertB

    Sad to say, but I agree.

  • Tusk

    Not so sure. I never expected to see gay marriage legal in all states, in my lifetime.
    I also never expected to see religious persecution by Christians finally come to a head but I’ve known it was coming for years. You can’t go around throwing your religion at others and using it as some kind of self righteous weapon, without consequences. Their ball sack got too big for their own britches, and calling the skid mark in the White House some kind of savior, pretty much took their selfish agenda, over the edge.
    As well as the rise of the Satanic Temple. They call innocent people out as scapegoats long enough, they’re going to come back and bite them in their self righteous ass. Funny thing is, the only ones crying out, threatening others, trying to save their (control) “faith”, are the ones trying to use it as some kind of white power. Most are sick to death of religion but “christians” that follow the supreme dolt of a “potus” has taken them straight to Hell. A gnashing of teeth. Threatening violence. To save their privilege.
    Turning away the needy, sick and the poor… they have become their own worst nightmare and burning down their own missions, with hate and ignorance.
    It’s a beautiful thing.

  • Tusk

    Doubtful. Freethinkers. Think. Most use common sense, since we don’t have to assume our thoughts come from “someone” else… and use those thoughts to control others. We know what it’s like to be controlled by a faith mentality. And now that they’ve got their clown on the cross, it will Founder. Showing they would in fact, sell their soul to keep control. Their “god” left the building, long ago.
    I do believe their are still good people that embrace their faith but in their own hearts, that is faith… and the only ones it should matter to, are those individuals and their connection to it. xo

  • Tusk

    You can’t force people to change… that’s actually their agenda.
    Trying to tell Atheists all the(ir) reasons for why we don’t believe. Trying to tell Gay men, women and children, they are wrong for their true feelings of love towards another human being.
    Telling Trans individuals that they are wrong for feeling Truth in their own bodies.
    Telling others, especially women, what they can and can’t do with their own bodies. Denying them access to health care, even considering it a crime, by a religion they don’t even adhere to.
    It’s a sickness. And the Beast, is feeding. Luckily, it’s devouring itself, from the inside out.
    Life has a way of setting things rite.

  • Tusk

    Christianity and corruption go hand in hand. But once they used Captain Skid Mark, as their poster boy… they sealed their fate. It truly is a foretold “End Times”, but it was referring to the fall of Christianity for the sickness that it’s always been.

  • BertB

    Richard Dawkins called religious belief a form of insanity. I don’t think he is wrong. Fortunately, it’s curable. Really devout believers who have gone through the “cure” have said it was very stressful, and I don’t doubt them. In my case, I grew up in a non-believing family, so I didn’t have that problem.

  • C_Alan_Nault

    “Beale told him he was “not a child of God”.

    If someone told me that,I would reply “you mean like Perseus or Hercules?”.

  • vmelkon

    I didn’t expect the USA to accept gay marriage either but it was forced by the government, correct? In Canada, the liberal party, Jean Chretien said that it isn’t up to the population to decide how 2 people will live. The conservatives were against it but he put it into law. There were some minor complains but all that quickly died down. There isn’t a strong young earth creationist movement in Canada.

    I think it has more to do with the economy. People want jobs. They don’t want mexicans to come on over and take any jobs. People are also afraid of muslims. I don’t blame them. People are tired of seeing made in China stamped on everything (me included). The globalization thing is out of control.

    I don’t want to turn away the needy. I would make a special exception for refugees. However, there is a huge influx of economic immigrants to Canada. Once a war starts in Canada ( I don’t think there will be one), I doubt that any of them would stay to defend Canada. I’m just saying that they lack patriotism. They are in Canada to make money.

  • vmelkon

    It’s also bizarre hearing about a christian that is in favor of homosexuality, or one who thinks that the 6 days creation story can be reinterpreted to mean billions of years. One guy even told me that the guys living 900 y were actually living 70 y bc they counted in lunar time and you have to divide by 12. Well, if that is true, then Abraham got his wife pregnant when he was 2.6 y old.
    It’s pretty insane. How did so many christians accept that the Earth is a spheroid when the Bible says in 10+ locations that it is flat.

  • vmelkon

    Back in the old days, 5 or so dudes were childs of the gods. Now everyone and their cats and dogs are childs of gods. It’s like being in a school for special children where every body wins an award.

  • Mustafa Curtess

    “Ouch?” THE only reason I’m not fire-bombing churches is because it is illegal – and I’m a law-abiding citizen.

    Nothing I would like to do more than to put those stupid MF’s in a position that their imaginRY “God” cant save them (and of course it cn’t). (sooner or later it will HAVE to be done. Mnkind simply can’t tolerste the threat of superstition indefinitely.

  • Har Davids

    This woman decided to harass her co-workers and in the end her employer had to fork out a nice sum of money, coughed up by the tax-payers, and she gets away with it.

  • BertB

    The question is…can we get rid of the people who hold those superstitions before they get rid of us.

  • BertB

    Yep. Totally outrageous.

  • Mustafa Curtess

    Exactly! And the prospect for atheisism are dismal at the present time (and there are actually atheists (and gays) who wrship Trump!) “Masochism”?

  • BertB

    I think you are a bit too pessimistic. We have to get through this insane Trump period, and then I think (hope) things will improve.
    Long term, younger generations are rejecting religion…and all the s**t that Trump is pushing.
    Don’t lose hope. I think we can still win out in the end if we hang in there and keep rowing.
    Most important thing. Get people to VOTE NEXT YEAR!!!
    There is nothing they can do to stop us if we vote!

  • Mustafa Curtess

    That’s a welcome “heads up”, and I hope you’re right.
    But “this insane Trump period” isn’t just a matter of an election (in which I have very little confidence). At my age, I don’t expect to see a retun to sanity. Some Democrat philosophies are far from sane, also. What I saw of them in the debates wasn’t at all encouraging and I’m finding myself softening on my “anybody but Trump” position.

  • Erik1986

    I don’t know about the situation in Canada, but I have yet to see poor, unemployed white people in California lining up for the jobs picking strawberries, etc. They don’t WANT the jobs the Mexicans gladly take.

  • BertB

    They don’t WANT the jobs the Mexicans gladly take.

    A lot of unemployed people are not capable of doing field labor. It’s hard work that requires some skill and a lot of physical endurance. But you are right, that most of those who could do the job, don’t want it.

  • towercam

    History teaches us, if we’ll learn, that whippin’ up on the religion-poisoned isn’t the answer.

    Lot of believers get high weekly during religious services.
    They think and say special things and that wakes up their internal drug stores that secrete psychoactive cocktails that make them high.
    Stopping those weekly services will severely upset a bunch of the believer-junkies; others, free of the weekly high, may come around to thinking sanely/secularly.

    The greatest crime against humankind is religion’s hijacking of morality.

  • towercam

    This is what religion can do to one.
    Sad, that religion just is another form of chains.
    Why hasn’t her supervisor called her in?

  • BertB

    Why hasn’t her supervisor called her in?

    Good question. I can only assume that they are Bible-freaks too.

  • Mustafa Curtess

    Well Said! (But I do believe that we have methods of “whipping’ up” that haven’t been avaiable in history.) It’s education and psychology, maybe some advanced pharmaceuticals. (It’s a mental disease – and needs to be treated like one.) From years of my own experience – I know that a good, fire-breathing sermon can release endorphins for that “high”. I never quite felt it – but it was obvious all around me.. (Pentecostals are notorious about it.)
    You’re correct about “hijacking morality”, too – but I don’t see any aspect of supernatural belief that isn’t debilitating in some way. (A total waste of time and human resources.)

  • vmelkon

    In Quebec, there is a government program and they fly Mexicans here. They pick strawberries, onions, apples, corn. I don’t know if they pay them minimum wage or less than minimum. They give them housing. They also give them bus rides to the city to visit Montreal (I saw them many times). Nobody wants those seasonal jobs. I think nobody has complained. There are other certain jobs like cutting trees with huge chainsaws in the north of Quebec. You work 6 months. I hear that a lot of Romanians go there. There is only nature around you. I don’t even know if they have an internet connection. It pays 40 k$.

  • Gary Whittenberger

    The supervisor of Beale should have implemented progressive discipline against her from the start.

  • progressive and proud

    The city can get ready for another lawsuit. Morons like Beale never change they just change tactics.