PJI Files Federal Lawsuit on behalf of Christian Employee fired for his Religious Beliefs in Iowa
Muscatine, Iowa—Pacific Justice Institute (PJI) filed a federal lawsuit last Friday, June 17, on behalf of a Christian employee fired by Muscatine County because of his religious beliefs.
Dean Naylor is a devout, born-again Christian, who served for a decade as the jail administrator for the Muscatine County Sheriff’s Office. During his tenure, Naylor never received a negative work review; he was never disciplined for any form of workplace misconduct. In April 2020, the County Sheriff stated that neither he nor his human resources office had received any complaints about Naylor.
Nonetheless, just days later, the County fired Naylor. Why terminate an employee with an impeccable, decade-long record of service? Because, nearly a decade ago, Naylor self-published a written post and subsequent video shorts about the Bible. Naylor’s publication included his religious beliefs about the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, same-sex marriage, and Christianity as the one true faith.
Throughout his tenure, Naylor faithfully served the County and never discriminated against an inmate or colleague for any reason, including religious or sexual orientation.
Nonetheless, the County fired Naylor not because of any workplace misconduct but because of his disfavored religious beliefs.
PJI initiated this case, Dean Naylor v. Muscatine County, et al., Case No. 3:22-cv-00040-RGE-SBJ, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa.
“Naylor did not forfeit his fundamental rights as a private citizen by virtue of accepting public employment,” Brad Dacus, President of PJI, commented. “PJI filed this lawsuit with Naylor to protect his and others’ constitutional rights to free exercise of religion, free speech, and free press, as well as the right to freedom from religious discrimination in the workplace. The County’s actions jeopardize the core constitutional rights of every County employee and threaten such employees with punishment up to, and including, termination for simply exercising those rights.”
To read the full complaint filed by PJI in federal court, please click here