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Company settles religious discrimination suit

Aug. 2—GUILFORD COUNTY — A home service and repair company based in Greensboro has agreed to pay $50,000 to settle a lawsuit by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission over the company requiring employees to take part in religious activities.

Aurora Renovations and Developments, doing business as Aurora Pro Services, required employees to participate in Christian prayer sessions and retaliated against employees who opposed the practice, the EEOC said in a lawsuit filed in June 2022 in U.S. District Court in Greensboro.

The prayer meetings, conducted since at least June 2020, were led by the company owner and included Bible readings, Christian devotionals and solicitation of prayer requests from employees, the EEOC said. Aurora's owner took roll before some of the meetings and reprimanded employees who did not attend.

After a construction manager who was an atheist asked to be excused from the prayer portion of the meetings in the fall of 2020, he was fired, the EEOC said.

In January 2021, Aurora fired a customer service representative who stopped attending the prayer meetings because she was agnostic.

In addition to awarding damages to the affected employees, the three-year consent decree settling the lawsuit prohibits the company from discriminating and retaliating against employees in the future. Aurora Pro Services will adopt and implement a new anti-discrimination, non-retaliation and religious accommodation policy and provide training to all managers and employees, including the owner.

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