A complainant reported to FFRF that annual Thanksgiving celebrations at a department within the North Carolina Education Lottery (NCEL) have included prayers initiated by the department director. In a letter written on Nov. 29, FFRF Staff Attorney Patrick Elliott urged NCEL Executive Director Alice Garland to remind employees that such practices are unconstitutional.
“By imposing prayer on its employees at a department-sponsored event, NCEL is violating … constitutional limits on government religious endorsement,” wrote Elliott.
In its response on Dec. 6, NCEL’s counsel denied any official involvement in the prayer, but assured FFRF that prayers and other religious activities will no longer take place at employee functions:
“We have addressed this matter with the affected department director, and informed all upper management that religion should never be part of any activities, NCEL sanctioned or not, while on company property and/or time. We reminded them regarding our Workplace Harassment Policy which also applies to non-NCEL sanctioned activities.”