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First Liberty Briefing

First Liberty Briefing is an exclusive podcast hosted by First Liberty Institute’s Deputy General Counsel Jeremy Dys. In about 90-seconds, once a week, Jeremy recalls the stories that have shaped America’s religious liberty, from the founding era to current legal battles and more. It’s an insider’s look at the stories, cases, people, and laws that have made America the world’s leader in protecting religious liberty.
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May 7, 2018

Bryan Finnemore was a self-described fundamentalist Christian. At the hydro-electric company where he worked, he oftentimes overheard a lot of vulgar statements that did not sit well with his religious beliefs and eventually filed a religious discrimination claim. Learn what the Supreme Judicial Court of Maine said about his claim at FirstLiberty.org/Briefing.


Bryan Finnemore is described as a fundamentalist Christian.  He worked for a hydro-electric company in Bangor, Maine.  Everyone there knew that he was a Christian and that’s where the problems seemed to begin.

The talk in the garage where Bryan worked was often vulgar.  His coworkers made explicit, demeaning jokes about their wives.  It was more than Bryan could stand.  He finally spoke up, questioning how they could carry on in such a manner and explaining that such conversation was offensive to him because of his religious beliefs.

You can probably guess what happened next: Bryan’s coworkers turned their crude jokes on him, targeting Bryan’s wife instead of their own.  He complained to his supervisors, but they took no action. It was too much.  So, Bryan resigned.

After he filed a claim of religious discrimination, the lower court granted summary judgment in favor of the company.  The Supreme Judicial Court of Maine reversed that decision, explaining that “whether a comment is of a religious nature or whether it occurred because of an individual’s religious beliefs or would not have occurred but for the individual’s religion” is a question of fact that a jury should decide.

Bryan’s case is a good reminder that sometimes it takes a jury of one’s peers to sort through all the facts in order to defend an employee’s religious liberty.

To learn how First Liberty is protecting religious liberty for all Americans, visit FirstLiberty.org.

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