Tiffany & Co. has come under fire after a former employee alleged she was dismissed for her “controversial” religious beliefs which are actually shared by millions of Catholics the world over.
Kristin Rightnour – who was once the director of marketing for the luxury retailer – says an innocent conversation with one Catholic colleague and one Jewish colleague about Easter plans had been taken out of context.
Rightnour claims the Jewish co-worker asked about Easter mass and, at the Jewish colleague’s request, explained the crucifixion story.
The suit maintains that the Jewish colleague did not express discomfort and actually encouraged Rightnour – after hearing the story, Righnour claims the Jewish colleague laughed and said; ‘They didn't teach us any of this in Hebrew school!’
However, a co-worker complained, alleging that Rightnour had stated “the Jewish people killed Jesus.”
Eventually, the 35-year-old was reprimanded and put on one-year probation, “based on Defendant's perception that as a practicing Catholic, Plaintiff held the belief that ‘Jewish people killed Jesus,’ as well as Plaintiff’s acknowledgment that many Catholics did indeed believe as much,” the suit charges.
The 35-year-old complained about the punishment and claims she was later the subject of retaliation by means of a negative performance review before she was eventually fired.
“What you have here is an employer engaging in a systematic, yet brutally transparent, scheme to punish an accomplished management-level employee for raising a good faith complaint — that she was treated disparately because of her religion," lawyer Alexander Coleman said in a statement.
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