Salon reports that Hobby Lobby may well have proved once again, that hypocrisy is synonymous with right-wing Christianity. Citing RH Reality Check, Salon notes that the company may have fired a pregnant woman after she requested time off to give birth to her child, even after reassuring her that she’d have a job when she was ready to come back.
Pro-life, y’all. They worry about those babies:
“They didn’t even want me to come back after having my baby, to provide for it,” Felicia Allen told reporter Sofia Resinick. Allen started as a part-time cashier at Hobby Lobby in 2010, and found out she was pregnant not too long after she started. She said she asked her supervisor if her job would be safe even though she hadn’t been working at the chain long enough to qualify for the Family Medical Leave Act.
“I asked her would I lose my job due to me being four months and only having five months before I have my child. She told me ‘no,’” Allen told RH Reality Check. “I felt like everything was OK. I had talked to my boss, and she let me know that everything would be OK. I would still have my job.”
And when she was ready to have her child, they fired her.
In addition to being mislead about her ability to return to her job, Allen said that Hobby Lobby fought her on unemployment benefits, because of course they did. Allen eventually won her claim, but she left Hobby Lobby feeling like they’d discriminated against her because she was pregnant.
She couldn’t sue, though. Like most Hobby Lobby employees, she signed a piece of paper giving way her right to sue. Instead of a lawsuit, she could only settle outside of court in arbitration.
And people wonder why we need unions.
In a phone interview, Alex Colvin, a professor of conflict resolution at Cornell University and an expert on employment arbitration, told RH Reality Check that corporations generally institute an arbitration-only policy because they’re afraid of widespread lawsuits, and try to keep information regarding those disputes out of the public eye:
“I think it’s an interesting confluence here with Hobby Lobby being in the news with that big case, but if that were an employment case where an employee wanted to make a claim, we would never see that case at the Supreme Court because it would be stayed in arbitration,” Colvin said. “So, ironically, Hobby Lobby gets to go to the Supreme Court because they want to challenge this, but their own employees don’t get to go to court.”
According to federal court records, over the years, several employees have filed job discrimination lawsuits against Hobby Lobby claiming age, disability, race, and sex discrimination—which is common for many corporations. But due to the fact that Hobby Lobby avoids lawsuits and the fact that little information about arbitration cases is made public, it’s difficult to evaluate the company’s treatment of its employees beyond its assurances that they are paid above minimum wage and well taken care of.
If true, this is apparently part of those “pro-family” Christian values that CEO Steve Green “doesn’t leave . . . at the door:”
In a promotional video on the Hobby Lobby website, company president Steve Green explained how he doesn’t leave his pro-family Christian principles at the door when it comes to running his company. “Well, the beliefs that we’ve had — that we have grown up with all our lives — are convictions that we have that we live by personally,” he said. “And as we have ran our business we feel the obligation or the desire that we want to use those same principles within our business. It would not be consistent for us to live one way at home and then accept a different way at work. That would be inconsistent with our faith.”
Hobby Lobby has not yet responded to a request for comment, but one wonders how the Green family feels this story of alleged discrimination against a new mother reflects on those principles.
It doesn’t reflect on their principles, because they don’t have any principles. Heartless vulture hyper-capitalism dressed up like Jesus on the Cross isn’t “principles.” It’s a joke. And a sick one, at that.