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  1. A federal judge has set a January trial date for a fired Key West bus driver suing the city for what he calls religious discrimination. Bobby Walker Jr. says the city fired him over a scheduling dispute that arose when he refused to work during the 2014 Fantasy Fest, citing his Jehovah's Witness beliefs against openly sexual displays that are routine at the annual 10-day October festival. Walker later asked for Dec. 31 off but was refused. After he failed to show up for work, the city fired him. The case is due for trial Jan. 23 in Key West before U.S. District Judge Jose Martinez. A mediation deadline is set for Dec. 14. The city's attorney, Michael Burke, says Walker has no case because he "did not have a sincere, bonafide religious belief that conflicted with his driving a bus on Oct. 25, 2014 and Dec. 31, 2014." Key West has policies and procedures in place to prevent and correct promptly any racial or religious harassment or retaliatory behavior, Burke wrote in court filings. Walker filed the suit March 3 in Key West, three months after the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission dismissed his claim. He is represented by attorneys Jason Melton of Spring Hill and Jay Paul Lechner of St. Petersburg. In his complaint, Walker, who is black, says city Transit Department heads mocked his religious beliefs and made derogatory comments about his race before firing him from the $13-an-hour job as retaliation for complaining. Walker worked as a temporary bus driver from May 27, 2014, until Jan. 2, 2015, earning an annual salary of $27,827, city staff said. Although the lawsuit doesn't go into detail about Jehovah's Witnesses, the church believes the Bible forbids premarital sex and sex should only be between one man and one woman after marriage. The church also warns its members to stay away from people who engage in the sex practices it disdains in order to remain morally clean. Source: http://www.keysnet.com/2016/06/01/508589/judge-sets-trial-in-discrimination.html
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