A Georgia pastor fired from his government job over sermons alleged to be discriminatory will instead receive a $225,000 settlement from the state based on his own discrimination lawsuit.
In 2014 the State of Georgia's Department of Public Health hired Eric Walsh, a lay minister, to serve as a district health director. Walsh accepted the offer but not long thereafter state officials requested samples of Walsh's sermons and searched online for others. Days later Walsh received a voice message from the officials requesting to speak with him about the position. Unintentionally, Walsh later noted, he learned of his firing when the callers mistakenly thought the call had ended and could be heard laughing and using phrases such as "you're out" on the voicemail.
First Liberty Institute filed a lawsuit April 20, 2016, on Walsh's behalf, contending the state fired him because of the content of sermons he...
John for Jesus wrote: The State of Georgia settled the case. It doesn't mean they admitted to any wrong doing. The man was still fired and never got his job back. Also, the money he settled for might be far less than he would have made if he had kept the job.
Walsh's case echoed that of former Atlanta fire chief Kelvin Cochran.
Both had served honorably elsewhere -- Walsh with the City of Pasadena and Cochran as the first African American fire chief of Shreveport, La. -- before coming to Georgia. Each also received high commendations from the Obama administration -- Walsh being appointed to the then-president's Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS and Cochran named U.S. Fire Administrator in July 2009. On Jan. 6, 2015, Cochran was terminated by the city due to a section in a self-published book addressing homosexuality.
Regarding the settlement in the Walsh case, Dys commented in a press release by First Liberty that "this is a clear and resounding victory for religious freedom. We always knew the law was on our side, so we are pleased the State of Georgia agreed to settle this case and clear Dr. Walsh's good name."
Walsh currently serves as a lay minister in the Seventh-Day Adventist Church.
"We are grateful that the State of Georgia agreed to settle the case and acknowledge the right of their employees to express their religious beliefs," Dys noted. "No one should be fired for simply expressing his religious beliefs"
The State of Georgia settled the case. It doesn't mean they admitted to any wrong doing. The man was still fired and never got his job back. Also, the money he settled for might be far less than he would have made if he had kept the job.