THE Rev Selena Fox, above, has a bone to pick with a branch of the Panera Bread Company in Pennsylvania over its obnoxious treatment of an employee who was told she’d go to hell for being a Pagan. She was then given the boot.
According to Religion News Service, Fox – Executive Director of the Lady Liberty League (LLL), a Pagan civil rights organisation – expressed her desire to confront the company’s diversity officers after learning of the sacking last year of baker Tammy McCoy, who joined the a branch of the company in Pleasant Hills, a Pittsburgh suburb, in 2019.
McCoy, who filed a discrimination lawsuit against the company last Wednesday, said she “never discussed her religion or religious beliefs at work” because she felt the subject was private.
But her beliefs were forced into the open last May when McCoy was on break with the store’s assistant manager, Lori Show, and the manager, Kerri Ann Dubs. Show asked McCoy what her religion was, and Tammy responded, “I am Pagan.”
Show reportedly responded by telling McCoy that that she was going to hell and Dubs:
Vigorously nodded her head in agreement.
The lawsuit then goes on the describe a series of other discriminatory actions. Among the complaints are that McCoy’s hours were cut, and when she asked why, she was told that she “needed to find God” before returning to her “previous schedule.” She was reportedly docked pay for breaks that she did not take.
McCoy alleged that she asked to be transferred to a different store, to which the district manager reportedly said “No,” and:
We’re probably going to rid of you anyways.
According to the lawsuit, the threats continued and turned violent, at times, creating a “hostile work environment.”
Last July McCoy said she was told to hand in her notice. Both she and her husband, who also worked at Panera and was not mentioned in the case, were fired.
The lawsuit, which was filed in a Pennsylvania federal court, states that McCoy’s civil rights were violated under the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prevents discrimination on the basis of race, colour, religion, sex, and national origin.
McCoy declined an interview and Panera did not answer a request for comment.
Fox, who is also a senior minister of Circle Sanctuary, part of LLL, reached out to both McCoy and Panera Bread Company. She said:
Pagans are continuing the quest for full equality, liberty, and justice in the U.S.A. and other parts of the world.
Although there have been a variety of Pagan rights legal victories, unfortunately, anti-Pagan prejudice, harassment, discrimination, and defamation still happen.
It is essential to stand up to anti-Pagan hate and attacks whenever and wherever they occur.
Most typically, Lady Liberty League fields complaints related to child custody, business, zoning, housing, and job discrimination.
Fox added that there has been a noticeable uptick discrimination over the past four years
The LLL team is “in the early stages of looking into the case” and that they are concerned for McCoy and for the great community.
Discrimination against Pagans not only harms the individuals directly impacted in a case, but Pagan People and society as a whole.
McCoy’s lawsuit claims that she was fully qualified to do her job and that the harassment and firing were solely due to her Pagan beliefs.
The series of actions taken by the store’s managers, and later by the district manager, as stated in the filing, were:
Committed with intentional and reckless disregard for [McCoy’s] protected rights.
McCoy’s lawyer, Michael J Bruzzese, is asking the federal court for a jury trial.
Lady Liberty League (LLL) was founded in 1985 during the “Satanic Ritual Abuse Panic,” when Pagans were regularly confronted with similar situations at work and in their communities.