Woman files lawsuit against faith-based organization, claims company is not following the law

Woman files lawsuit against faith-based organization, claims company is not following the law

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - A lawsuit against a Christian broadcaster based in south Charlotte was filed in January. A former employee – who was fired – has accused the company of failing to pay her what she was promised and forcing her to work overtime without extra pay.

Carmen McCreight says she was working constant overtime at the Christian Research Institute, and wasn’t being paid for the extra hours. She says she begged for three years for the pay. She also claims her bosses retaliated by firing her.

“It’s not legal what’s going on. I feel like I’m being taken advantage of. I feel that I was misled,” said McCreight.

McCreight said her bosses at the Christian Research Institute promised her she’d be paid as an Executive Assistant.

The company’s website says it helps equip Christians worldwide with information to encourage them in their faith and intelligently represent their Christian faith to others.

McCreight thought the job was a perfect fit.

“Most of all, because it was a Christian company,” she added.

But shortly after starting, she says she noticed her paycheck not adding up.

Her lawsuit – filed earlier in January – claims Carmen’s bosses were paying her about $9,000 less than what was originally agreed upon. She says she scheduled a meeting with one of the managers to try and rectify things.

“[The manager] said, ‘Actually, I was a little nervous about this, but I got to tell you that I won’t be able to pay you what we said we were going to pay you,'” she recounted.

She says her boss ended that conversation by saying he’d bump up her pay to what was promised by the end of the year. That was in 2016.

“They continued to tell me, ‘it’s coming it’s coming.’ We’re going to give it to you and you’re worth this,” said McCreight.

McCreight says she held on and even when 2017 rolled around, nothing changed. Yet, the lawsuit says, her bosses with the Christian Research Institute continued to promise the funds would come.

She says she believed them – but in the meantime, some of her own bills couldn’t be paid.

“We could not make the ends meet. One thing got shut off and then another thing got shut off or maybe I was late on this or late on that,” said McCreight.

To make matters worse, she says she was clocking in sometimes 60 hours a week and working on her scheduled off days, but the lawsuit states she was listed as an exempt employee and couldn’t be paid for overtime.

On top of that, the lawsuit states she was using her personal car to run errands for bosses and performing housekeeping duties for the office.

“I basically was a clerical person. You know, a gofer,” she added.

Meanwhile, the organization’s tax filings show her bosses were getting six-figure salaries.

In Nov. 2018, with still with no change to her paychecks and years of broken promises, McCreight says she was fired from her job. The lawsuit claims she was fired as retaliation for complaining about her lack of pay.

“I wasn’t expecting that,” McCreight said.

McCreight admitted that she hates that it has come down to this, but just wants what she says she has rightfully earned.

“It’s kind of like you’re standing there, and someone comes and hits you with a 2x4. You don’t expect it, for the lack of a better thing to say,” she said.

WBTV’s Bria Bell reached out to an attorney representing Christian Research Institute. The attorney, Evan Gibbs, picked up a phone call and acknowledged he represents this company, but said he has no comment on any pending litigation.

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