A former employee of Weigh Down Workshop has filed a religious discrimination lawsuit against Gwen Shamblin, the company's founder.

Tonya Cardente told Christianity Today that she chose to file suit after she was "fired for praying and refusing to continue to attend Gwen's Remant Fellowship."

Gary Blackburn, an attorney from the Nashville-based firm of Blackburn and McCune filed the suit in Davidson County Chancery Court on behalf of Cardente, who worked as a staff counselor until her June 13th firing.

"Basically the owner of Weigh Down Workshop established her own church and imposed religious tests upon the people who worked there," Blackburn told Baptist Press. "That's discrimination based upon religious preference and you don't see these kinds of cases very often."

Blackburn said he may be representing two other former employees who allege they lost their jobs because of similar claims. A damage amount has not been set.

Officials at Weigh Down Workshop did not return repeated calls from Baptist Press.

Cardente maintains she was fired for praying on the job. "I used my lunch hour to pray and I was told by Gwen (Shamblin) that she pays people good money to pray and she didn't need my prayers and it wasn't my place to decide what to pray for," Cardente said.

"She said some people are sacrificed for the benefit of others," she recalled. "That's what she said when I was fired."

Cardente moved from California one year ago after she was recruited to work at Weigh Down's Nashville office. "I was courted for about a year," she said. "We prayed about it and decided it would be a good opportunity for us."

After she moved to Nashville, Cardente said she was increasingly pressured to join Shamblin's church, the Remnant Fellowship. "Once again, ...

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