The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is suing a home service and repair company in Greensboro, North Carolina, for firing two employees who refused to participate in Christian prayer meetings. A video that went viral in September 2020 appears to show the owner of Aurora Pro Services (APS), Oscar Lopez, in the act of firing one of his employees.
“Beware of Aurora Pro Services,” said Hueston Lackey in the caption of the video, posted Sept. 8, 2020. “They are forcing their employees to participate in prayer and Scripture reading (not that there’s anything wrong with prayer and Scripture) and if you choose not to, they fire you. This is exactly how you give Christianity/good Christians a bad name. Just [because] someone works for you doesn’t mean you can force your religion on them (not to mention it’s your protected right of choice).”
On June 28, 2022, Lackey posted a link to the EEOC’s press release about its lawsuit, saying, “I don’t know if some of you remember a video I posted a few years ago that involved Aurora Pro Services firing a friend of mine? Well this is how [it] is going for them.”
Aurora Pro Services Sued by EEOC
Aurora Pro Services lists heating, plumbing, roofing, and electrical work among the services it provides. A description on its website, which appears to be from the company’s owner, Oscar Lopez, says he took the name of the company from his grandmother, whose name was Aurora.
“I’ve never met anybody who worked harder, had more integrity, and had a deeper faith in God,” says the website. “From her, I learned what family means. I learned honesty is the only option. I learned that no matter what troubles I have, the solution can always be found in the Lord. You may have had a grandmother like mine. If so, we’re going to get along just fine. And you’ll know my team will take care of you.”
In its press release about the lawsuit, the EEOC alleges that Aurora Pro Services “violated federal law when it required employees to participate in religious prayer sessions as a condition of employment and retaliated against employees who opposed the unlawful practice.” According to the EEOC, APS has required employees to participate in Christian prayer meetings since at least June 2020.
“The meetings were conducted by the company owner and included Bible readings, Christian devotionals, and solicitation of prayer requests from employees,” says the EEOC, adding that APS’s owner tracked who attended the meetings and “reprimanded” any who did not.
The lawsuit claims that in the fall of 2020, when John McGaha, a construction manager and an atheist, asked not to attend the prayer meetings, APS cut his pay in half and then fired him. The suit also alleges that in January 2021, Mackenzie Saunders, a customer service representative and an agnostic, was fired when she stopped attending the prayer meetings.