Dave Ramsey fired employee for taking Covid precautions, Suit says
Anti-debt broadcaster and crusader Dave Ramsey has been accused of firing an employee for wearing masks in the office and for wanting to work from home during the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a federal lawsuit filed this week.
The lawsuit said Mr Ramsey, an evangelical Christian and owner of Ramsey Solutions, a personal finance counseling empire he launched in 1992, ran a “worship” environment where employees worried about the pandemic were accused of “weakness of mind” and told to pray if they wanted to ward off the virus.
The lawsuit was filed in Tennessee U.S. District Court on Monday by Brad Amos, a former employee of the Nashville-based company. An attorney for Mr Ramsey said the case was without merit and the company had followed guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention throughout the pandemic.
Mr Amos, 45, said he was hired in 2019 as a senior video editor earning $ 90,000 a year and then fired in July 2020, after repeatedly telling his supervisors that he wanted to work from home to protect the health of his wife and son. , in accordance with his own Christian beliefs.
Mr Ramsey’s company “fired the plaintiff for taking scientifically prescribed precautions, as required by his sincere religious beliefs, in the Covid pandemic rather than relying solely on prayer for protection,” said the trial.
“Employees who wore masks at meetings were mocked and derided,” according to the lawsuit.
Daniel Cortez, general counsel for Ramsey Solutions, called Mr Amos’ claims “strange” and said they “had absolutely no basis”.
“The company has never looked down on people who have chosen to wear masks or to be vaccinated,” Cortez said Tuesday. He said he is vaccinated himself and regularly wears masks in the office. “It is very unfortunate that Mr. Amos has brought this complaint to federal court, but we are very confident that we will prevail.”
He said Mr. Amos was fired after insulting a supervisor who called a meeting with him to discuss his job, which had started to suffer. Mr. Cortez said Mr. Amos told the supervisor he was “arrogant and not humble”.
“This is a complete and utter lie,” said Amos’ attorney Jonathan Street. “It’s an excuse they use because he wouldn’t kiss Dave Ramsey’s feet.”
Mr. Ramsey, which preaches that people can become millionaires by simply living and spending sparingly, has a weekly audience of around 23 million people through its podcasts and radio and online presence, according to Ramsey Solutions.
His advice, which he also describes in his bestselling books and in a nine-week course called Financial Peace University, is rooted in a philosophy that paying off debt and saving money is both common sense and orderly. God.
But more recently, he has become known as a critic of restrictions intended to slow the spread of the coronavirus, which has killed nearly 800,000 Americans since early 2020.
At the start of the pandemic, Mr Ramsey, whose company employs more than 1,000 people, denounced the shutdown and said “lives were being affected more” by such restrictions “than by the actual virus.”
In December 2020, his company hosted a large indoor Christmas party where employees were not required to wear masks, according to the Religious News Service, which also reported Mr. Amos’ complaint was filed.
On his show, Mr Ramsey advised people who did not want to be vaccinated and now face layoffs to quit their jobs and said that “only big companies affected by the lens” are adopting “stupid” policies.
According to his lawyer, Mr. Amos moved his family from California to Tennessee to work for Ramsey Solutions. He liked the philosophy Mr. Ramsey espoused and wanted to live in Williamson County, which has a strong Conservative and Christian presence, Mr. Street said.
After the pandemic hit, Governor Bill Lee of Tennessee issued a statement that “strongly” discouraged gatherings of 250 or more people, according to the lawsuit.
On March 15, 2020, Mr. Ramsey emailed employees to let them know that there had been a confirmed case of Covid-19 in the office.
This employee worked in Mr. Amos’ department, according to the lawsuit. The next day, employees were told they were to attend an “on-site” meeting, at which Mr Ramsey announced the company would not allow people to work from home, according to the complaint.
“Specifically at that meeting of 900 people,” the complaint said, “Mr Ramsey said fear of working in the office because of Covid demonstrates ‘weakness of mind.’
Mr. Amos told his supervisor he feared putting his wife and son in danger. His son, who was then 6, suffers from Coats disease, a rare disease that causes abnormal development of blood vessels in the retina, and his wife has a “predisposition to pneumonia”, according to the lawsuit.
Mr. Amos’ supervisor responded that he should “pray and keep moving forward,” the lawsuit said.
The company eventually allowed people to work from home, but recalled Amos to the office because he was considered “an essential employee,” according to the complaint.
When Mr Amos resisted, he said he was demoted from senior video editor to assistant video editor.
The lawsuit said Mr. Amos was also ordered to attend meetings “designed to indoctrinate the plaintiff with the personal religious views of Dave Ramsey as a spiritual leader.”
In July, Mr. Amos was called to another meeting with his supervisor, who criticized him for standing out from other employees in the office.
He was told he “was not a good candidate” and was seen to have “a lack of humility,” the lawsuit said.
After being fired, Mr. Amos returned to California, Mr. Street said. He found another job in the video editing industry, Mr. Street said.
A trailer that Mr. Street said Mr. Amos edited for “Borrowed Future,” a student debt documentary produced by Ramsey Solutions, was still on the company’s website Tuesday.