Joel Dahl calls himself a Second Chance Employer. He gives many ex-prisoners a second chance at life by employing them in his construction company, Dahled Up.
Joel knows firsthand how hard it can be for ex-prisoners to get a job. As a former prison inmate, he has been there. So he knows such past mistakes have a way of haunting the present and dimming the future.
Joel told The Oregonian/OregonLive that he had “struggled with drugs and alcohol and served time in prison for attempted second-degree assault,” Thankfully, he’s been “clean and sober for seven years.”
Joel’s life did a 180 after he embraced Christianity. So when he started his business in 2016, he wanted to run it in accordance with Christian principles. And use it as a way to expose others to the Second Chance Giver who turned his life around….
As a result, Dahled Up is a unique place. Its mission is to help people who were once in Joel’s position find the “narrow path” that leads to true freedom. One strategy Joel employs is to expose his employees to the moral issues taught in Christianity.
He does this through a weekly Bible study, run by a Christian minister. On company property and company time. He even pays employees to be there. He makes no secret of this when he interviews potential new-hires.
One employee took exception to this. In April 2018, after being at Dahled Up for six months, 34-year-old Ryan Coleman refused to attend the sessions. After exchanging words with Joel, Ryan was let go.
In August, Ryan sued Dahled Up. For $800,000. Claiming religious discrimination.
Ryan says it’s illegal for Joel to require employees to attend the Bible study as a condition of employment. He’s asking $50,000 for past and future losses, such as employment earnings and benefits. And $750,000 for “emotional distress, anguish, humiliation, anger, shame, and anxiety.”
Joel’s attorney, Ken Hickman, doesn’t dispute Ryan’s claim that he was required to attend the study, but said it is legal because Dahl pays his employees to go.
Pacific Justice Institute (PJI) is also assisting in Joel’s defense. PJI is a religious liberty firm providing pro-bono legal services to, among others, employers attached for their religious-based policies.
PJI’s President, Brad Dacas, asserted:
“The Supreme Court has repeatedly held in recent years that Christian business owners are, for the most part, free to operate their companies in accordance with their faith’s principles. We hope to defend Mr. Dahl’s right to do the same, especially given the well-documented power of Christianity to transform even the vilest of offenders into model citizens.”
What say you?
Please post your comments below.
Diana Furr, a.k.a., Abba’s Girl
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