LOUISVILLE, Ky., (WDRB) – A Kentucky man claims his employer, the manager of a Hampton Inn in Hazard, punished him for not submitting to an exorcism and failing to fill out a form asking questions about his religious beliefs and sexual habits.
In a religious discrimination lawsuit, Leslie County resident Jason Fields claims he was harassed shortly after being hired as a front desk employee in June 2016 when his manager, Sharon Lindon, found out he was getting divorced.
Lindon, according to the suit filed March 21 in Perry Circuit Court, told Fields she was a member of Common Bond Christian Fellowship Ministries in Hazard and that the reason "for his marital problems was that he had demons."
The suit, which names Lindon and Hampton Inn as defendants, alleges Fields was told if he was going to work for Lindon, he had to be "cleansed." Fields told him she had been cleansed three or four times and it was similar to an exorcism.
In addition, Fields was given a form to fill out with questions about his religious background, if he had lustful thoughts, whether he was conceived out of wedlock or had been sexually abused and if he had ever "made a pact with the devil," among other questions.
When Fields refused to provide the form or undergo an exorcism, his shift and job duties were changed, he was not allowed to take days off, did not receive a raise and was threatened with termination, according to the suit.
"Lindon made it clear to (Fields) that absent his adherence to her religious beliefs, specifically completing the packet of questions and consenting to a cleansing, he would not be allowed to work at the Hampton Inn," according to the lawsuit, filed by attorney Cheryl Lewis.
Lewis did not immediately return a phone message.
And at least three times, the suit claims, Lindon brought parishioners from her church to the hotel lobby to pray for Fields while he was working.
While Fields did not participate, he was embarrassed and claims other employees overheard hotel guests talking about the incidents.
Fields eventually quit because of "continuing harassment and discrimination," according to the suit.
An employee at the Hampton Inn referred questions about the lawsuit to Lindon, who was not working when we tried to contact her. She did not immediately return a phone message seeking comment.
Lindon also could not be reached at her church.
In a statement, Hampton Inn said they oppose discrimination and will investigate, according to the Associated Press.
The suit is seeking a jury trial and unspecified monetary damages.
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