The prayer meetings were "cult-like", the employees have claimed in their lawsuit. (Representative Photo)
Two former employees of a company in the United States have have filed a federal lawsuit claiming they were fired for not taking part in daily prayer meetings, NBC News said in a report. John McGaha and Mackenzie Saunders called the prayer meetings "cult-like", the outlet further said.
According to their complaint, the proprietor of Aurora Pro Services "established a hostile work environment, based on religion," and publicly threatened to terminate staff members who didn't attend the prayer sessions.
The home repair company is based in Greensboro, North Carolina. The two former employees said that it started forcing the staff to attend daily Christian prayer services from June 2020, according to Newsweek.
The prayer gatherings, led by the company's owner, lasted nearly an hour and included "Bible readings, Christian devotionals, and solicitation of prayer requests from employees," according to Saunders' complaint, Newsweek further said. The employees were asked to stand in a circle while the prayer meeting continued.
"After the proprietor mandated that everyone repeat the Catholic translation of the Lord's Prayer in unison, Ms. Saunders started to feel as though the meetings had taken on a 'cult-like' atmosphere," the complaint further said.
Though the name of the company's owner has not been mentioned in the company, public records and LinkedIn identified him as 40-year-old Oscar D Lopez.
In the complaint, McGaha identified himself as atheist and Saunders said she was agnostic. Both of them said they had requested the owner to be excused from attending the daily prayer meetings, but it was denied. Saunders further claimed that she was fired for refusing to attend those meetings.
The lawsuit was filed on the same day when the US Supreme Court ruled that a high school football coach who knelt and prayed on the field was protected by the Constitution.