Employment dispute amicably resolved after Liberty Institute client—an award-winning journalist—was fired over a year ago
This week, Liberty Institute announced that their client, Bob Eschliman, and Shaw Media amicably resolved an employment dispute with a confidential settlement agreement. The settlement follows Eschliman’s termination from the Newton Daily News over a year ago.
Bob Eschliman released the following statement upon the resolution of this matter without resorting to litigation:
“My family and I are pleased that we have been able to resolve this matter with Shaw Media in a way that is beneficial to all parties involved. We are thankful for the very positive resolution to this situation.”
Hiram Sasser, Deputy Chief Counsel for Liberty Institute and attorney for Eschliman, said: “Shaw Media showed true leadership in respecting free speech and religious liberty in the resolution to this matter. Our client is very happy with the outcome and appreciates the manner in which Shaw Media resolved this dispute. Religious liberty in the workplace is an important issue in our nation today.”
He added, “Companies who find themselves in similar situations should follow Shaw Media’s good example in resolving these situations in an amicable manner.”
HOW IT ALL STARTED
As Liberty Institute’s Liberty Watch newsletter previously reported, Bob Eschliman is an award-winning journalist who had worked for the Newton Daily News in Newton, Iowa as the Editor-in-Chief since 2012. Eschliman had begun a personal blog before his employment with the newspaper on which he shared his own personal thoughts, and he made his employer aware of his blog. Last spring, Eschliman wrote a post on his personal blog defending his religious views regarding Holy Scripture and the institution of marriage.
But, a public outcry eventually led to Bob’s dismissal from his position as editor-in-chief of the Newton Daily News. In an editorial published the next day, the president of Shaw Media, who is also the owner of the Newton Daily News, explained that Bob had been terminated because of the opinion he expressed on his personal blog, calling into question his ability to lead the Newton Daily News.
In July 2014, Liberty Institute, along with volunteer attorney Matthew Whitaker—a former United States Attorney and partner in the Des Moines law firm of Whitaker, Hagenow, & Gustoff, LLP—filed an official charge of discrimination with the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on behalf of Eschliman. The charge before the EEOC was dismissed prior to last week’s settlement.
RELIGIOUS LIBERTY IN THE WORKPLACE
In July 2014, a Des Moines Register newspaper columnist wrote an op-ed implying that journalists with Christian views—like Eschliman—might not be able to approach stories objectively and should leave the secular world of journalism.
In a response published in the same newspaper the next month, Liberty Institute Senior Counsel Jeremy Dys and volunteer attorney Matthew Whitaker defended religious liberty. They cited the Civil Rights Act of 1964, a law which protects Americans from unlawful religious discrimination.
Despite laws protecting religious liberty, attitudes of religious discrimination in the workplace are on the rise. Other Liberty Institute clients include:
However, Americans in the workplace—including employees, employers, and business owners—do have religious liberty rights. Liberty Institute has produced a FREE downloadable resource, titled “7 Things Every Business Person of Faith Should Know,”which informs and equips people of faith in the business world to know their rights and freely exercise their faith at work.
One of the most important battles for religious liberty today is securing the legal rights of people of faith in the workplace—outstanding Americans such as Bob Eschliman. Liberty Institute provides such clients with some of the best lawyers in America at no charge. Please give a donation to celebrate this victory . . . and to help defend more men and women of faith. Thank you!
About Liberty Institute
Liberty Institute is a nonprofit legal group dedicated to defending and restoring religious liberty across America — in our schools, for our churches, in the military and throughout the public arena. Liberty’s vision is to reestablish religious liberty in accordance with the principles of our nation’s Founders. For information, visit www.LibertyInstitute.org.