Pastor Billy Hollins, an African American and a former faith leader at St. Stephen Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky (the house of worship also has a satellite location in Jeffersonville, Indiana), has filed a discrimination complaint alleging that the church reassigned him in 2007 because of his race.
Hollins, who worked for the church from 2001 until 2011, claims that he was transfered from the Jeffersonville location to Louisville and given a new job title (executive assistant pastor) based on a racial premise. This event occurred four years ago when he says Senior Reverend Kevin Cosby told him that the church needed to better reflect its growing Caucasian population. But the drama doesn't end there, as Hollins stayed on staff even after he made the requested transition.
In addition to the alleged racially-motivated move, Hollins claims that his worker's compensation payments were not made in full following a work-related accident he had in 2010. He insists that he was able to perform his position with the proper medication and that the subsequent firing that occurred (yes, he was inevitably fired) was based on retaliation for seeking the compensation in the first place.
The Associated Baptist Press has more:
Neither side is commenting to media on the facts of the dispute, but the church’s attorney, Gordon Rowe, told Louisville Public Media radio station WFPL that he expects both sides to begin the discovery phase, including any depositions, in the next 30 days.
Cosby, a graduate of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, has led St. Stephen Church since 1979. During his tenure church membership has grown from 500 to 10,000. The predominantly black church is affiliated with both the Kentucky Baptist Convention and the Southern Baptist Convention.
The discovery phase of the case is expected to begin in the next 30 days. You can read the complaint here.