- An evangelical radio star’s company said it fires employees who have premarital sex.
- Dave Ramsey’s firm says it’s fired 9 employees in 5 years for violating its “righteous living” code.
- The policy emerged in a court case where an ex-employee says she was fired for being pregnant.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Ramsey Solutions, a company owned by evangelical radio star Dave Ramsey, said in court filings that it has a policy of firing employees for having premarital sex.
The policy emerged in a legal dispute with a former employee, when the company cited the policy to support its argument that it had not discriminated against her.
Ramsey is a personal finance advisor whose radio show, The Dave Ramsey Show, is nationally syndicated and combines conservative Christian themes with financial advice.
According to the Ramsey Solutions company website, Ramsey founded the company in 1992, and the company provides help and advice for people seeking to “crush debt and build a legacy.”
Caitlin O’Connor, a former administrative assistant in the company, alleged in a lawsuit filed last year in the US District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee that she was fired because she got pregnant.
In a legal document seen by Insider, she said she was fired after she asked for paperwork related to taking maternity leave in June 2020.
In response, the company argued that she was fired not for being pregnant but because she is not married to the child’s father.
O’Connor’s complaint said that she worked for the company for four years, and was fired seven days after alerting the HR department that she was pregnant and asking for paperwork related to maternity leave.
Her lawyers argue that firing her breached her federal right to take maternity leave, as well as breaching state laws in Tennessee. It describe the firing as “particularly cruel” given that she also lost her health coverage.
In a later submissions, also seen by Insider, attorneys for Ramsey Solutions said O’Connor was fired for breaching its standards, which says employees are expected to “demonstrate strong character all the time.”
It described premarital sex as a a breach of the “strong character” provision and “inconsistent with Righteous Living.”
The company said that it fired eight other other employees for having premarital sex in the last five years, including five men.
In the filings, the company said that O’Connor had been aware of that the company disapproved of being pregnant and unmarried, and that she admitted she had broken the policy.
It said that the company does not have a “standard procedure” for working out whether an employee had premarital sex, but said in this case it relied on O’Connor telling them so.
It claims that under state law companies are free to fire employees for whatever reasons they choose, as long as they are not discriminating on the basis of race or sex or other characteristics and are not retaliating against them.