Radio personality Dave Ramsey allegedly fired one of his employees for taking Covid-19 precautions, such as wearing a mask at the office and requesting to work from home, according to new lawsuit claiming religious discrimination.
Ramsey, an evangelical Christian who owns financial advice company Ramsey Solutions, allegedly led a "cult-like" work environment where Covid-19 wasn’t taken seriously, while fear of working in the office due to the virus was branded “weakness of spirit” and staffers who wore masks to meetings were “mocked,” according to the complaint.
The lawsuit was filed Monday in the U.S. District Court of Tennessee by former employee Brad Amos, 45, against Ramsey and the Lampo Group LLC, also known as Ramsey Solutions.
Amos was hired in 2019 as a senior video editor for Ramsey’s company and moved from Los Angeles, California, to Williamson County, Tennessee, to be close to the Ramsey Solutions headquarters, near Nashville.
He says he was terminated in July 2020, after repeatedly telling his supervisors he wanted to work from home and taking Covid safety precautions.
He is accusing Ramsey Solutions of religious discrimination and retaliatory discharge, claiming he was terminated because he refused to adhere to the company's particular religious beliefs and refused to abandon his own on Covid, the lawsuit states. His Christian beliefs require him to protect his family's health and safety, the lawsuit said.
Despite receiving initial praise and recognition for his video editing work in the start of his job, things took a turn once the pandemic gripped the nation, the lawsuit contends.
On March 15, 2020, Dave Ramsey emailed all employees informing them that there has been a confirmed case of Covid in the department where Amos worked, the lawsuit said.
The next day, 900 Ramsey employees, including Amos, were expected to attend an on-site all employee meeting, days after Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee declared a state of emergency and discouraged events of 250 people or more, according to the lawsuit.
At that meeting, Ramsey “announced that Ramsey Solutions employees would not be working from home,” the lawsuit said.
“Specifically in this 900 person meeting, Mr. Ramsey stated that fear of working in the office because of Covid demonstrated ‘weakness of spirit,’” the lawsuit said.
“Ramsey believed taking preventative measures were against the will of God,” the complaint stated.
When Amos raised his concerns, stating his family was at high risk because his wife has a predisposition for pneumonia and his child has Coats' disease, he was told to “pray and keep moving forward,” the lawsuit stated.
After the Tennessee's Stay at Home order expired April 30, Ramsey employees were encouraged to work from the office again, according to the lawsuit. Amos went back in, along with other employees, on May 4, 2020.
The lawsuit states that despite Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance to use masks and social distancing to deter the spread of Covid, “Lampo implemented none of these policies as they felt the proper attitude was to simply 'pray away the disease'."
Further, during conference meetings, the use of masks and social distancing was "frowned upon" and staffers who wore masks were "mocked and derided," the lawsuit stated.
Ultimately on July 31, 2020, Amos was told he was “not a good fit” because he “would stand off to the side all the time” when in the office. A supervisor told him he was perceived to have a “lack of humility," according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit contends that Amos was terminated for "taking scientifically prescribed precautions, as required by his sincerely held religious beliefs, in the Covid pandemic rather than relying on prayer alone to protect himself."
Ramsey Solutions told NBC News in a statement Wednesday, “Mr. Amos’ lawsuit has absolutely no merit.”
“It appears its only goal is to smear Ramsey Solutions’ reputation and extort a large settlement. Ramsey Solutions is fully prepared to defend this lawsuit and prevail,” the company said.
The company expanded on its statement following the publication of this article saying: “Mr. Amos was fired during a meeting to discuss his poor performance with his leaders, where he insulted his most senior leader. He was not terminated for his religious beliefs or how he wanted to handle Covid.”
“The company stance has always been that we will comply with applicable laws and regulations related to Covid,” the statement said.
In a statement to NBC News, Jonathan Street, an attorney for Amos, said his client “has been completely truthful in each and every allegation.”
“He was never disciplined for any work performance until he committed the ultimate sin at Ramsey Solutions — he chose the safety of his family and others over the ego of Mr Ramsey and upper management,” Street said.
Dave Ramsey has come under scrutiny in the pandemic for his criticism of Covid restrictions. On his eponymous show in September, he called companies mandating vaccines for their staffers “optics concerned.”
Last December, it was alleged that Ramsey’s company threw a large, indoor Christmas party where workers who catered the event were instructed not to wear gloves and masks during the party, even as coronavirus cases climbed in the state, a non-mask compliance complaint filed in the city of Franklin, Tennessee, last year stated.
In a statement, Ramsey Solutions said the complaint was “completely false.”
“Ramsey Solutions never requested anyone, whether a team member or a vendor, not to wear masks or gloves,” it said.
Franklin City Administrator Eric Stuckey told NBC affiliate WSMV at the time that Ramsey’s company had also told city officials the complaint’s allegations were false.