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EMPLOYMENT although it vacated an order fining a hotel housekeeper $1,000 for filing a frivolous discrimination claim under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and making him write a letter of apology to his former employer, the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld on May 30 a Wisconsin federal court grant of summary judgment in favor of the employer, which fired the housekeeper for storming out of a workplace prayer meeting. Reed v. Great Lakes Companies Inc., No. 02-3371. The housekeeper, Melvin D. Reed, worked for a Milwaukee-area Holiday Inn owned by defendant Great Lakes Cos. One of his responsibilities was the placement of Gideon Bibles in each room. When a meeting between the Gideons and Reed’s supervisor evolved into a Bible-reading and prayer session, Reed walked out. His supervisor later warned him to not embarrass him with similar behavior in the future. When the employee argued that the company could not compel him to attend a religious event, the supervisor fired him for insubordination, and this Title VII suit ensued. On appeal, the 7th Circuit noted that in the past 15 years, Reed had worked for 25 different employers and filed more than a dozen discrimination claims. While only one of those claims was even partly successful, none of them had ever been adjudicated as frivolous. Accordingly, while it affirmed the lower court’s grant of summary judgment to the employer, the three-judge panel reversed the sanction and the letter-writing order, and remanded the case to the district court for reconsideration.

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