SPOKANE, Wash. — A Spokane immigration attorney is suing a Spokane County nonprofit after alleging the organization rescinded a job offer made to him after learning he was gay, according to court documents filed Monday.
Emmanuel Campos Gonzalez was offered a job with the World Relief Corporation of National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) in September 2021. Two weeks after the verbal job offer was made, Campos Gonzalez said the organization's human resources director rescinded the offer.
The organization said they could not specify why the offer was rescinded "due to the confidential nature of some aspects of the recruiting process," according to court documents.
Campos Gonzalez is a licensed attorney in the state of Washington and has been in a same-sex marriage since 2012. He also describes himself as Catholic "with a strong and mature faith."
According to documents, Campos Gonzalez initially learned that World Relief had an immigration law office in Spokane in August 2021. He decided to inquire about volunteer opportunities but later learned the organization was searching for a DOJ Accredited Representative.
Campos Gonzalez contacted Sam Smith, the director of Immigration Legal Services for World Relief Spokane, on Sept. 1, 2021. He reportedly asked Smith if he was eligible to apply for the position, to which Smith replied that he was.
Campos Gonzalez applied to the position the next day and attended an interview on Sept. 10, 2021. Following the interview, he arranged to meet with Mark Finney, the executive director of World Relief Spokane.
According to documents. Campos Gonzalez was told that he would need to sign a statement of faith if he was hired, "affirming his belief in Christ and the organization's values." Documents state that Campos Gonzalez was willing to sign the statement but was ultimately never given it.
A final screening was scheduled with the World Relief Recruiting Coordinator, Michelle Bengson, for Sept. 28, 2021. The next day, Campos Gonzalez was told he would need to submit a background check, which he did that same day.
Campos Gonzalez was verbally offered the DOJ Accredited Representative Position on Sept. 29, 2021, according to documents. Two weeks later, on Oct. 13, 2021, World Relief's Director of Human Resources, Karen Gonzalez, informed Campos Gonzalez that the job offer had been rescinded.
Later that day, Campos Gonzalez said he emailed Finney stating he did not understand the reason behind the decision. He then emailed Gonzalez to ask why the offer was rescinded.
Ten days later, on Oct. 23, 2021, Gonzalez told him she could not clarify why the offer was rescinded "due to the confidential nature of some aspects of the recruiting process."
According to documents, Finney said he learned of an NAE/World Relief policy he was not previously aware of. According to NAE policy, the sexual activities of all employees must be "within the biblical covenant of marriage between a man and a woman."
Finney then told Campos Gonzalez it was that policy that was the basis for the job recession.
Campos Gonzalez is suing World Relief Spokane "for mental anguish and emotional distress" and for "economic damages."
KREM 2 reached out to World Relief Spokane for a statement on this matter but has not yet heard back.