A Christian tech executive has been fired by a “woke” Florida software company after he stated on his internal company profile that his “preferred pronouns” had been “assigned by God.”
Chad Scharf, who served as the vice president of software engineering at Bitwarden’s Jacksonville location, has filed a lawsuit against the company over the move.
Bitwarden operates password manager software with an open-source framework.
The software facilitates the creation and safekeeping of passwords used online.
In his executive role at Bitwarden, Scharf was responsible for supervising fifty-one people.
Scharf’s lawsuit alleges that his termination was a violation of his Title VII rights against religious discrimination.
“Mr. Scharf is Catholic; at the very core of his religion is the doctrine that God created man in his own image, and created them male and female,” the lawsuit states.
“This has been a Catholic doctrine for over two thousand years.
“Mr. Scharf’s religious beliefs are that there are only two sexes and that gender cannot be changed, chosen, or manipulated.
“When pressured by the company to add pronouns to his Slack profile, he chose those in conformity with his religious belief: ‘Assigned by God.’”
The complaint alleges that Scharf was constantly pressured to add his pronouns to his employee profile on the internal communications tool Slack as part of an “inclusivity initiative.”
The complaint states: “Mr. Scharf explained that he chose these pronouns because of his religious beliefs, which would not allow him to be silent in the face of the contrary ideology being advanced and encouraged by Bitwarden.
“Mr. Scharf explained that he could not speak untruthfully and against his beliefs and that Bitwarden’s policies and practices discriminated against his religion.”
The lawsuit alleges that Scharf was fired after he “requested accommodation for his religious beliefs and because he raised objections to Bitwarden’s ‘inclusivity’ initiative.”
The complaint also says that Bitwarden “refused to tolerate Mr. Scharf’s religious beliefs and practices.”
The legal justification for the lawsuit is religious discrimination.
Scharf has already filed a charge of religious discrimination and retaliation on August 29, 2022, with the Florida Commission on Human Relations.
The charge was dual-filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
His state law claims are being reviewed by the Florida Department of Administrative Hearings.
Before his firing, the complaint alleges that Scharf’s employment record was “stellar.”
He “never had any negative feedback regarding his job performance or inter-personal relations with his colleagues,” the filing notes.
The lawsuit also suggests that Scharf was informed that he “could keep his faith at work but not show it.”
Scharf was also accused of failing to use the “preferred pronoun” of a potential employee in internal writings.
From the complaint:
“CEO Michael Crandell contacted Mr. Scharf to inquire why he had not used the requested pronouns in the interview notes; Mr. Scharf explained that to do so would violate his religious convictions.”
Scharf was then fired.
The complaint alleges that Bitwarden is “inclusive” of certain beliefs but was exclusive of Scharf’s religious beliefs when it terminated his employment.
Scharf’s attorney, Jennifer Vasquez, of Campbell Trohn Tamayo & Aranda, said in a statement: “Despite what many seem to believe, the law is not that ‘religious beliefs are protected until someone finds them offensive.’
“Religious beliefs by their very nature cause offense to those outside of the religion – precisely why our federal and state laws protect religious belief.
“Per the Supreme Court, religious beliefs are not merely to be tolerated but must receive ‘favored treatment’ in the workplace.
“One employee’s feeling offended, harassed, or unsafe just because another employee has stated his religious beliefs does not overcome these legal protections.
“All religions are protected, but recently discrimination against Christians has been on the rise – not an unexpected outcome of the sudden explosion of companies advocating gender ideology, a belief system at enmity with ancient Christian doctrine.”
Scharf’s lawsuit argues that Bitwarden’s pressure to compel speech that is counter to a person’s religious beliefs, in the name of “inclusivity” is an attempt to get them to undermine their religion.
“Mr. Scharf was ultimately fired for refusing to yield his Catholic beliefs to gender ideology,” Vasquez concluded.