Spokane man sues World Relief claiming they rescinded his job offer because he is gay

SPOKANE, Wash. – A Spokane man is suing the World Relief Corporation of National Association of Evangelicals for rescinding his job offer because he is gay. 

Emmanual Campos Gonzalez filed the lawsuit on Monday.

In the lawsuit, Campos Gonzalez, a lawyer, says he first showed interest in volunteering with World Relief’s Spokane office. While signing up to be a volunteer, he was informed about a Department of Justice Accredited Representative Position. 

Campos Gonzalez says he was notified that he was eligible to apply for the position and did so on September 2, 2021. He was informed that if he was hired, he would need to sign a statement of faith, affirming his belief in Christ and the organization’s values. 

Campos Gonzalez is Catholic and was willing to sign the statement, but said he was ultimately never presented with the form. 

The lawsuit says he submitted a background check and all required forms before being notified that World Relief wanted to offer him the position. Campos Gonzalez also says he was scheduled for an October 18 start date. 

“About two weeks later… World Relief’s Director of Human Resources informed Mr. Campos Gonzalez that the verbal job offer he received from Spokane was rescinded,” the lawsuit states. 

That day, Campos Gonzalez emailed Executive Director Mark Finney and the HR Director regarding the situation. 

The lawsuit states the HR Director claimed she could not clarify the reason for the rescission of his employment. 

Finney emailed him to apologize for the situation and referenced learning about NAE/World Relief’s corporate policy.

“The National Association of Evangelicals maintains an employee policy mandating that sexual activities of all employees be within the ‘biblical covenant of marriage between a man and a woman’” the lawsuit states. 

The policy does not make exceptions for non-ministerial positions. 

Sam Smith, Director of Immigration Legal Services for World Relief Spokane, and Finney have both since resigned from their positions.

In his lawsuit, Campos Gonzalez says World Relief discriminated against him because of his sexual orientation. The Washington Law Against Discrimination protects citizens from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in employment, but does allow exemptions for religious non-profits. 

4 News Now reached out to World Relief for comment and they responded with the following statement: 

At World Relief, we love and serve all people, no matter what their sexual orientation or gender identity may be. Religious organizations – whether they are Muslim, Christian, Buddhist, or any other faith – are able to hire staff that share their beliefs and doctrine. All hiring decisions are made by World Relief, not the National Association of Evangelicals. We do not comment on individual hiring decisions”