During eight years working for Plano-based Goodman Networks, Jef Mindrup's Buddhism was never really an issue, and why would it be? Serving as the marketing director for a large-ish telecom company requires allegiance to no specific creed.
Mindrup says that changed on March 14, 2012, when Jody Goodman -- Goodman Networks' co-founder, board member, and "vice president of staffing, corporate travel and diversity" -- asked him to immediately begin adding daily Bible quotes to The Daily Coffee, the company's morning email newsletter.
According to a federal lawsuit Mindrup filed last week, he refused. "Jody, I am unable to add quotes or scriptures from the Bible as you've requested," he wrote in response to the request. "I have always taken great care to avoid any quotes that would offend others as well as my own personal religious beliefs."
The suit says Goodman responded first by telling Mindrup that he understood and respected his personal beliefs, then, after work the next day, by firing him over the phone.
A spokesman for Goodman Networks says the company does not comment on pending litigation. In response to an inquiry by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, it said that Mindrup was laid off as part of a planned reduction in force. Mindrup says that the company invented this explanation to cover up for illegal discrimination.
Mindrup's suit blames the company for loss of income and emotional distress, neither of which prevented him from pursuing a patent for his handheld pizza cooking device.
Send your story tips to the author, Eric Nicholson.