TRI in the News


Former Rockwell Collins Worker Files Discrimination Lawsuit


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May 21, 2008

From Chicago Tribune
Original article available here.


A former systems engineer from Rockwell Collins has filed a lawsuit, claiming he was fired after he refused to sign a document accepting homosexuality.

Thomas Meeker of Robins filed the lawsuit last week in U.S. District Court. He said in the lawsuit that he is Christian and believes homosexuality is a sin.

The lawsuit claims Meeker was fired because of his religion. It says he suffered loss of pay and benefits as well as emotional distress.

Meeker is being represented by William Kurth of Lake City, who accepted the case on behalf of the Rutherford Institute, a conservative civil rights group based in Charlottesville, Va., that provides free legal services on issues it supports.

Pam Tvrdy, a spokeswoman for Rockwell Collins, declined comment, saying the company does not discuss pending litigation.

In his lawsuit, Meeker said he received an e-mail telling workers of the company's diversity initiative on May 22, 2007. The initiative asked employees to welcome, value and respect differences in others in the workplace, the lawsuit said.

Meeker sent an e-mail to company officials objecting to diversity training. He said he believed such training would divide workers into groups by focusing on differences and he refused to participate.

Meeker met more than once with human resource and other managers to discuss his objections, the lawsuit said.

He said he found online training he did to prepare for one of the meetings to be offensive. he told manager is promoted and insisted that employees accept, celebrate and embrace homosexuality.

According to the lawsuit, Andrew Mlynarczyk of the company's human resources office, told Meeker his e-mails were disrespectful and that he had acted outside the company's "standards of business."

Meeker received a certified letter on July 9, 2007, telling him he was fired because of his unwillingness to treat gay or lesbian co-workers with respect and was violating company policies.