In a highly controversial case, a software engineer who was terminated from his position for specifying “Assigned By God” as his preferred pronoun has taken legal action against his former employer. Chard Scharf, who served as the Vice President of Software Engineering at Bitwarden, a prominent online storage service, has filed a civil rights lawsuit claiming religious discrimination. This lawsuit raises important questions about the clash between personal beliefs, gender ideology, and workplace inclusivity.
Chard Scharf’s lawsuit against Bitwarden alleges that the company violated his rights protected under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. While Bitwarden allowed other employees to display their preferred pronouns on their profiles, Scharf claims that he was prohibited from doing so due to his religious convictions. According to Scharf’s attorney, Jennifer Vasquez, his termination was a direct result of his refusal to conform to Bitwarden’s promotion of gender ideology.
Vasquez argues that had Scharf chosen to set aside his religious beliefs and comply with Bitwarden’s inclusivity initiative, he would not have faced termination. The crux of the matter lies in the conflict between Scharf’s deeply held religious convictions and the company’s gender ideology, which ultimately led to his dismissal.
Despite multiple inquiries from The Epoch Times, Bitwarden and its attorney, B. Tyler White of Jackson & Lewis, have not provided any comments on Scharf’s lawsuit. Additionally, the company has yet to file a response to the federal complaint, indicating that the legal proceedings are still in their early stages.
The lawsuit asserts that Bitwarden violated Title VII by subjecting Scharf to unfavorable treatment, failing to accommodate his reasonable request, and ultimately terminating his employment. It highlights the fact that Scharf faced consistent pressure to add his preferred pronouns to his Slack employee profile as part of the company’s inclusivity initiative.
When Scharf included “Assigned By God” as his preferred pronoun, he was instructed to remove it. As a devout Catholic, Scharf explained that complying with this request would contradict his religious beliefs, as he firmly believes in the existence of only two sexes and that gender is an inherent characteristic that cannot be changed or manipulated.
According to Vasquez, the correspondence between Scharf and the company indicates that Bitwarden initiated the completion of the gender field on his employee profile, rather than Scharf himself. However, two employees in the human resources department claimed to have felt harassed by Scharf’s religious statements, further complicating the matter.
Furthermore, Scharf faced reprimand for not using the preferred pronouns in notes regarding an interview with a job applicant whose preferred pronouns differed from their biological gender. In response, Scharf stated that he intentionally avoided using any pronouns during the interview and only used the applicant’s biological pronouns in internal notes.
The lawsuit reveals that Bitwarden’s CEO justified the termination by citing legal advice that confirmed the company’s right to dismiss an employee who refused to use pronouns conflicting with their religious beliefs.
In addition to the civil rights lawsuit, Scharf has filed a discrimination complaint against Bitwarden with The Florida Commission on Human Relations (FCHR). Although the board ruled in favor of the company, stating that no discrimination had occurred, an appeal process is underway.
Vasquez, who has successfully argued other Title VII cases involving religious discrimination, believes that the increasing insistence on using transgender pronouns in the workplace is contributing to religious persecution. She expresses concern about the growing anti-Christian sentiment and the prioritization of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) scores over workers’ rights by companies like Bitwarden.
While Title VII lawsuits have seen significant victories, such as the $10.3 million settlement won by Liberty Counsel against an Illinois hospital chain for refusing religious accommodations regarding the COVID vaccine, the delicate balance between inclusivity initiatives and religious freedoms remains a contentious issue.
As the legal battle between Chard Scharf and Bitwarden unfolds, its outcome will undoubtedly shape the future landscape of workplace inclusivity, religious accommodations, and the protection of individual beliefs. The case raises important questions about the intersection of personal convictions, company policies, and legal safeguards under Title VII.