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Ex-worker in Kris Kobach’s office sues, blames firing on ‘reverse religious discrimination’

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach
Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach The Associated Press

A former worker in the office of Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach filed a lawsuit in early August, claiming “reverse religious discrimination” in the office prompted her dismissal in November 2013.

Courtney Canfield filed the lawsuit in federal court Aug. 6. The defendants are the office of Kansas secretary of state and Ed Rucker, an assistant in that office.

The lawsuit was first reported by the Topeka Capital-Journal.

In the lawsuit, Canfield claims Rucker dismissed her from her job, at least in part, for failing to attend religious services in the secretary of state’s office. Canfield worked in the office for less than a year.

“Plaintiff’s lack of religious participation and expression clearly conflicted with Defendants’ religious preferences,” the lawsuit says. “Plaintiff is protected under state and federal law from adverse employment actions because of her choice to refrain from religious participation and/or expression.”

Rucker is a former assistant to Phill Kline, the former Kansas attorney general and former Johnson County prosecutor.

In a statement Wednesday afternoon, Kobach firmly denied any improper behavior.

“The lawsuit filed by Ms. Canfield against Mr. Rucker is baseless,” his statement said. “Mr. Rucker terminated Ms. Canfield from her position because of her poor performance. The suggestion that Mr. Rucker, or anyone else at the Office of the Secretary of State, monitored employees’ church attendance is ridiculous. ”

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