Fired worker adds church to civil lawsuit over firing

Associated Press/August 17, 2004

Salt Lake City -- A former worker of a Hildale business who claims he was wrongfully terminated because he no longer adhered to town's dominate faith has amended his civil lawsuit to include the Fundamental Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and its president, Warren Jeffs.

Shem Fischer filed the federal lawsuit in 2002. The former salesman for the Forestwood Company, a wooden cabinetry business, has included new allegations that church officials interfered with his relationship with his employer and blacklisted him.

The majority of residents in Hildale and adjoining Colorado City, Ariz., belong to the FLDS Church, which embraces the practice of polygamy.

The amended lawsuit, filed last week in U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City, includes the original allegations that Fischer was forced out of his job because he protested the 2000 firing of a fellow employee based on the co-worker's lack of belief in FLDS doctrine and because Fischer rejected certain tenets.

The firings by the Hildale company were prompted by orders from Jeffs and other FLDS leaders for followers to cease all association with non-followers, Fischer claims.

He alleges the officials then put him on a blacklist to stop him from getting a new job. His lawsuit seeks unspecified damages.

It's the second lawsuit filed against Jeffs in civil court in a month.

Jeffs' nephew filed a state lawsuit July 29 claiming that Jeffs and two other uncles sexually abused him when he was a child.

Warren Jeffs' attorney, Rodney Parker, did not immediately return a phone message seeking comment.

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