Christian sues after being targeted for refusing to raise 'pride' flag

Christian sues after being targeted for refusing to raise 'pride' flag

Christian sues after being targeted for refusing to raise 'pride' flag

A beach lifeguard is taking Los Angeles County to federal court, saying he was threatened with dismissal over his refusal to raise the "Progress Pride Flag" in June.

Captain Jeffrey Little is a 22-year veteran with the LA County Fire Department. In June 2023, Little requested – and received – a religious accommodation, saying that raising the flag would violate his sincerely and deeply held beliefs as a Christian. Attorney Paul Jonna is with Thomas More Society, the law firm representing Little.

"He asked if someone else could be handling the flag. They actually agreed initially, gave him accommodation, and then … folks found out and he became a target. They actually put some pride flags in the locations he was supposed to be working without them. He lowered them pursuant to the accommodation he was given," Jonna explains.

Jonna, Paul (Thomas More Society) Jonna

Two days after receiving it, Little's accommodation was suddenly revoked.

"He was told that his religious beliefs don't matter, that he's a county employee, that he has to basically put those aside," says his attorney. "And he was later subject to discipline and subject to investigation, and basically between that time period and the present he's been trying to work out an accommodation."

The lawsuit claims the actions against Little violate not only his constitutional rights but also brings claims under Title VII for religious discrimination and harassment and failure to accommodate.

"Any employer, especially a public employer, is supposed to accommodate someone with religious objections unless doing so would pose an undue burden," Jonna continues. "And here, the analysis is so straightforward: having someone else raise that flag would pose no burden at all. They just want to target him and single him out."

Thomas More Society is asking for a temporary restraining order before this flag mandate takes effect in June. Thomas More Society is also asking for permanent relief to help Captain Little every June.

"We cannot comment on personal issues, or any ongoing litigations," Los Angeles County Fire Department told AFN.

The federal lawsuit is filed in the United States District Court for the Central District of California.