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Reed v. Great Lakes Cos.

United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
330 F.3d 931 (7th Cir. 2003)


Melvin Reed (plaintiff) was hired as the executive housekeeper at a Holiday Inn hotel operated by Great Lakes Cos. (Great Lakes) (defendant). Part of Reed’s job was to ensure that Bibles, provided to the hotel for free by local Gideons, were placed in each room. Members of hotel management routinely met with Gideons when they delivered the Bibles. Less than a month after Reed was hired, he was asked to accompany the hotel manager to one of these receiving meetings. Reed did not object. During the meeting, in addition to handing over the Bibles, the Gideons unexpectedly read from the Bible aloud and prayed. Reed was offended and left the meeting early, which embarrassed the hotel manager. Afterward, the manager confronted Reed and ordered him not to behave that way in the future. Reed resisted, telling the manager that he would not be compelled to attend a religious event. After a heated exchange, the manager fired Reed for insubordination. Reed sued, alleging unlawful discrimination on the basis of religion in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq. At a pretrial deposition, Reed refused to indicate what, if any, religious beliefs he held. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of Great Lakes. Reed appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Posner, J.)

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