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I'm not a satanist. I recently bought a phone case with the anti-possession star from the TV show Supernatural printed on it. It's a personal phone, but it's on my desk all day so I can see if I get a notification. Sometimes I chat with friends, but I also get work calls/texts on it too.

A co-worker of mine who I don't know too well walked past yesterday and apparently saw it. Today I heard her speaking to another colleague that I don't know too well saying she reported it to HR and I could tell she was 100% serious. The other colleague acted like she didn't care and just wanted to end the conversation. However, the woman that reported me specifically said that I think he might be into "satan worship", that's happening a lot more recently.

I was shocked. A meeting popped up on my calendar today and all it says is HR Meeting, with two people from HR included on it. Can I be fired for this?

Update:

So I was told by HR that my phone case is completely unacceptable, even though I don't have a customer facing position (I'm a software engineer). They also told me that this is a Christian company and Satanism isn't protected by religious discrimination laws because they're "evil".

They escorted me out of the building and I'm now jobless. There was literally no indication that this was a "Christian company". They're not overt about it at all and I've worked here for over a year. I plan to talk to a lawyer.

  • How big is the company, and is it owned by a single individual or family? – Julie in Austin Aug 30 at 21:05
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    I am very curious what records will be available for discovery if this proceeds to a lawsuit. @Jared, did they have you sign anything? Did they give you any paperwork? If they want to be slimy, odds are good that some other reason for your dismissal will be their official story. – spuck Aug 30 at 23:17
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    Reminder: comments are for suggesting improvements to the question or asking for clarification - not for answering, insulting the author, expressing amusement at the situation, or other general conversation. – V2Blast Aug 31 at 0:16
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    You were working two jobs for the last year? – Monica Cellio Sep 1 at 19:09
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    Is it possible the co-worker's actions were out of spite for you not helping her with her IT issues? – marcelm Sep 2 at 7:07
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It would be illegal to fire (or otherwise discriminate against) you for supposed Satanic worship or displaying other religious iconography. According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 would protect you against unfair treatment due to perceived religious beliefs.

Religious Discrimination & Work Situations

The law forbids discrimination when it comes to any aspect of employment, including hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, layoff, training, fringe benefits, and any other term or condition of employment.

Religious Discrimination & Harassment

It is illegal to harass a person because of his or her religion.

"Reporting" you to HR for a religious practice would count as harassment under this definition.

Do keep in mind that Satanism is rather controversial in many parts of the US, so displaying occult symbols could make co-workers uncomfortable, legality aside. If the employer or HR has religious biases, they could potentially fabricate some other reason for termination.

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    It's worth noting that once he tells them this isn't a religion, they might have a case for firing him (if he lives somewhere with at-will employment). – Omegastick Aug 30 at 18:06
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    "Displaying a symbol that makes someone uncomfortable" is going to be one of those things that HR will probably ask you not to do, once they have established it's not a real religious symbol. – DJClayworth Aug 30 at 19:12
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    "displaying occult symbols could make co-workers uncomfortable" - some of us feel that way about crosses and such too ... – ivanivan Aug 30 at 23:11
  • @ivanivan And there are many companies and organisations which ban or restrict christian religious symbols. What of it? – Studoku Aug 31 at 10:25
  • @ivanivan Would a Hindu be fired for having a swastika pendant? – Galaxy Sep 3 at 4:40
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This answer is after you have been fired for your presumed religious belief and the presumed religious symbolism on your phone case.

If you have not done so already, you should write down as accurately and completely as you can all relevant events and communications, especially what was said in the meeting during which you were fired. If they gave you any paperwork, preserve that. Recollections tend to lose accuracy with time, so contemporaneous notes may add weight to your evidence.

Next, think through your objectives. You may not want to go back to work there, but there are other things you could ask for:

  • Restrictions on what they will say if asked for a reference.
  • Agreement that you were not fired for a proper cause, and therefore can collect unemployment pay.
  • Financial compensation for lost earnings while you are looking for a job.
  • Legal fees.

Get a lawyer, give the lawyer a copy of your notes, and follow the lawyer's advice.

9

I expect this will probably get cleared up once you explain the misunderstanding at HR - however if they don't believe you then they can't fire you for it (religion is a protected characteristic in the US) so they can't fire you for being a "satan worshipper", of course ironically they can fire you for being a Supernatural fan (assuming you are in an at-will state that is).

There's no cast-iron guarantees here unfortunately - I've heard some pretty wacky reasons for people getting fired over the years but on the balance of probabilities, and assuming your HR dept is entirely staffed by hysterical idjits I think you'll be fine.

I dare you to you to end the HR meeting with We've got work to do! (although I advise against shouting "Hey Assbutt!" at the co-worker who reported you, that might get you in trouble)

PS: Don't think I didn't notice the reference in the username btw.

  • However, in this case the OP is saying he is NOT a "satan worshipper" which would seem to make him eligible for firing. – DaveG Aug 30 at 18:44
  • @DaveG, if it were a particularly conservative workplace with a high-profile public-facing job role, that might be the case. But otherwise, if the OP is in good standing and it was spun as an honest and reversible lapse of judgment-- very unlikely. I guess we'll find out if the OP reports back. – teego1967 Aug 30 at 19:06
  • "Piece of old poop" is in my humble opinion a better word instead of "assbutt". – Galaxy Sep 3 at 4:42

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