The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

June 13, 2012

Bias suit for Oklahoma man names Nebraska company

LINCOLN, Neb. — A Nebraska-based lighting supply company violated federal law when it refused to hire an Oklahoma man because of his religious beliefs, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleges in a lawsuit.

The Lincoln Journal Star says the commission filed its claim Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Tulsa, Okla.

The lawsuit says Voss Lighting, of Lincoln, violated federal law by refusing to hire Edward Wolfe at its Tulsa location. The EEOC says Wolfe was a qualified applicant.

“Voss Lighting appears to have a corporate culture that requires employees adhere to certain religious beliefs that have absolutely no bearing on the business of selling lighting products,” EEOC trial attorney Patrick Holman said in a news release. “This litigation, we hope, will serve to illuminate Voss Lighting as to Title VII’s prohibitions against discrimination on the basis of religion.”

Title VII refers to a title of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Company Vice President Steve Sanderson told the Journal Star that the company denied the allegation. He says the person hired was more qualified than Wolfe.

According to the lawsuit, Voss advertised the job in Tulsa through a Baptist church attended by one of the managers in the Tulsa office. Wolfe, who did not attend the church, learned about the job and applied for the position.

The lawsuit says that during the interview, Wolfe was subjected to numerous questions about his religious beliefs and practices. He allegedly was asked to identify churches he had attended, where and when he was “saved” and whether he would have a problem coming to work early to attend Bible study.

In a second interview, Voss’s Tulsa branch manager became upset over Wolfe’s responses to the religious questions, according to the lawsuit.

The EEOC said it will seek reimbursement for the pay Wolfe would have received if he was hired, as well as an order for front pay or placement in the job. The agency also said it will seek damages, as well as a court order prohibiting Voss from any further religious discrimination. The company’s website shows it has offices in 20 locations.


Text Only
Local News
  • Ballot issues dominate GOP event

    A maze of campaign yard signs lined the sidewalk at Big Spring Park, leading up to a line of local candidates for public office with rolled-up sleeves shaking hands with potential voters.

    July 24, 2014

  • Mike Pound: It’s time for some football

    The arrests, the announced suspensions and the contract disputes can mean only one thing: Somebody is ready for some football.

    July 24, 2014

  • Landfill opponents seek answers

    The Baxter Springs High School auditorium was filled with hundreds of Cherokee County residents Thursday night as Galena city officials answered questions and listened to comments regarding a proposed landfill at Riverton.

    July 24, 2014

  • Hanaway says leadership missing under Gov. Nixon

    When Republican gubernatorial hopeful Catherine Hanaway walked into the banquet room at Granny Shaffer’s Restaurant this week, she was greeted by some of Joplin’s more prominent business leaders.

    July 24, 2014

  • Neosho athletes bring home silver

    For 19-year-old Dominque Dechant, it was the trip of a lifetime. She and three other athletes from Neosho traveled last month to Newark, New Jersey, as part of the Missouri Special Olympics girls basketball team.

    July 24, 2014

  • r072414msw.jpg VIDEO: Carterville company expands to third generation

    What began as Ray “Mac” McCoy’s side job in his home 55 years ago has grown not only in square footage and reach, but in generations. This summer, a third generation took over the reins of MSW — Mac’s Specialty Woodwork — that now exceeds 90,000 square feet and creates custom furniture for chain restaurants coast to coast.

    July 24, 2014 2 Photos

  • Shrine Bowl band, cheerleaders, players arrive in Pittsburg this week

    Band members were the first Kansas Shrine Bowl participants to arrive at Pittsburg State University this week.

    July 24, 2014

  • Galena council rescinds landfill decisions

    The Galena City Council voted Wednesday to rescind decisions it made two weeks ago regarding a proposed landfill at Riverton.

    July 23, 2014

  • Miami council waives fees for barbecue event

    The Miami City Council voted Tuesday to waive $3,750 in usage fees for Miami Elks Lodge No. 1320 for an upcoming barbecue championship at the Miami Fairgrounds.

    July 23, 2014

  • Carthage prepares for Marian Days

    The 37th annual Marian Days celebration will start in two weeks, and planning is well under way for the event that will bring tens of thousands of Catholics of Vietnamese descent to Carthage.

    July 23, 2014

Must Read


Amendment 8 in Missouri proposes a special lottery ticket to help fund state veterans homes. How will you vote?

For it.
Against it.
     View Results
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter