The Globe reports on a lawsuit by a Chinese dissident living in the US against Boston-based Jenzabar, founder Ling Chai and two foundations founded and funded by the company.
Jing Zhang, who lives in New York, charges she was fired from one of the foundations because she grew reluctant to participate in weekly Christian prayer sessions on phone calls with headquarters in Boston.
Jenzabar is involved not just because it provided funding to the foundation - which seeks to help girls in China - but because the company gave Zhang a W2 for her work, claimed her salary as a tax deduction and listed her as a Jenzabar employee in a filing with New York State, according to a court ruling last month.
Chai, herself a former Chinese dissident, says Zhang deserved to be fired because she misappropriated funds meant for the foundation, but that, in any case, the foundation was religiously oriented and so exempt from discrimination lawsuits under New York law.
However, in last month's ruling on whether to simply dismiss the suit, a federal judge in Brooklyn said the foundation had failed to prove it actually was a religious organization, at least for the purposes of getting the lawsuit tossed, and noted that it only filed for an IRS religious exemption after Zhang had notified Chai that she was contemplating a religious discrimination complaint.
The ruling means that, barring a last-minute settlement, the issue will now go to trial - and Jenzabar, which provides planning, HR and students software to colleges, will continue to be a defendant, as will Chai.