NEW YORK (AP) — The Salvation Army agreed Tuesday to settle a decade-old lawsuit accusing it of religious discrimination in its employment practices in New York.
The settlement announced by the New York Civil Liberties Union calls for the Salvation Army to notify all current and future employees of its government-funded social service programs that it doesn't discriminate based on religious belief. The requirement applies only to workers in New York.
The notification would also tell employees they are expected to follow professional practices in their work without regard to the organization's religious practices.
"This settlement reflects the principal that when a religious institution accepts government funding to provide services on behalf of the government, they cannot use those funds to encourage religious proselytizing," said NYCLU executive director Donna Leiberman.
The Salvation Army acknowledged no wrongdoing in the settlement agreement, which also calls for court oversight of the organization for two years. It also agreed to pay $450,000 to be allocated between two plaintiffs and their attorneys.
In a statement, the Salvation Army said it was pleased the litigation had been settled, that it was "in the best interest of all concerned, and permits The Salvation Army to avoid any further diversion of resources away from its core mission of assisting those in need."
The NYCLU had filed a lawsuit in 2004 on behalf of a group of current and former Salvation Army employees of its government-funded social services programs who accused the organization of religiously discriminatory and retaliatory employment practices. The suit also alleged retaliatory employment practices.
In 2005, a federal judge dismissed some of the claims in the suit, but allowed some retaliation claims to go forward. The settlement takes care of those claims.
In 2010, a number of city and other government agencies agreed to monitor the Salvation Army to make sure clients in social service programs were not forced to take part in religious activities.