DALLAS – Halloween is associated with costumes, candy, and the occult, but to one Dallas County woman, it is an affront to her religion and a reason she allegedly lost her job.
In her lawsuit filed against BSN Sports, LLC in Dallas federal court on Oct. 24, Carmelite Lofton claims her former employer discriminated against her because she is a black Christian woman with a disability. She was coerced into attending a company Halloween function though she says it goes against her faith, the suit says.
BSN employed Lofton, who is reportedly a pastor, as a Human Resources Specialist from Nov. 11, 2015 to last Mar. 3.
Regarding the 2016 Halloween party, court documents explain, the defendant’s Vice President of Human Resources, Mechell Gotelli told the plaintiff she “didn't have a choice because everyone was required to participate in Halloween Festivities.”
The respondent purportedly subjected Lofton to mistreatment based on her religion following the party – including but not limited to – a number of other employees making disparaging remarks and the prevention of Lofton’s vehicle being parked near the HR building because it displayed signs bearing the name of the complainant’s ministry.
Lofton further asserts that she experienced a hostile work environment because of her race and medical condition.
Per the complaint, black employees received less pay and Gotelli once sent a company-wide email that contained a stick figure being hung on a noose. Regarding her osteoarthritis, Lofton accuses BSN of making her engage in physical activities despite her doctor’s orders.
The respondent ultimately terminated Lofton, to which she says was a form of retaliation.
A jury trial is requested.
Attorney Marshay Howard of the law firm Howard & Associates in Dallas serves as her legal counsel.
Dallas Division of the Northern District of Texas Case No. 3:17-CV-2933