NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - An email from the human resources department for financial guru Dave Ramsey shows a longtime employee was fired because her husband made disparaging comments about the company’s holiday party.
That employee asked News4 Investigates to conceal her identity as she fears retaliation from the company as she looks for new employment.
News4 Investigates reported in December that a vendor who was contacted about working for the massive company Christmas party filed a complaint with the city of Franklin that vendors were being asked not to wear masks or gloves as not to frighten attendees.
A non-mask compliance complaint filed with the city of Franklin alleges that a vendor was told a stipulation of working for the event meant employees were not allowed to wear masks or gloves.
Even before the party, featuring mask-less disco dancing and casino gambling, the former employee said the mentality about masks inside Ramsey’s company was clear.
“It was an odd dynamic. People, I did feel, looked down on for wearing a mask because the running tagline was, ‘We have faith over fear.’ And I think we should have had a healthier respect for the virus and what it does,” the employee told News4 Investigates.
That employee’s husband shared her views and said he didn’t think twice about expressing his opinion about the party during a dinner in which a former Ramsey employee was in attendance.
“I just shared I thought it was kind of ridiculous that they were having this party with so many people and I think they way they’ve handled COVID is pretty dumb,” the employee’s husband said.
Soon after that dinner, the former employee said she was called into a board member’s office and told she was being terminated.
While COVID-19 levels rise to alarming levels and health officials discourage people from gathering in large crowds, Dave Ramsey decided to throw a party.
“I was completely shocked. I was blown away,” she said. “I just had a performance review the Tuesday before – had gotten a promotion, had gotten a raise.”
The reason for her termination is spelled out in an email from Armando Lopez, senior executive director of human resources for Ramsey Solutions.
It reads, “The reason for your termination was the disparaging comments made by your spouse.”
“It’s gut wrenching because it paints me in a bad like because I don’t think anything I’ve said is inappropriate to lying,” the employee’s husband said.
That email also references a severance agreement.
The employee said the company offered her $20,000 in severance if she agreed to never criticize Ramsey or his family.
The employee opted not to sign it, even if it meant losing the substantial money.
The Monday after Dave Ramsey held a huge company Christmas party full of mask-less attendees dancing and gambling, Dr. Devin Sherman was serving some gut-wrenching news.
“We all buy into the financial principals, we love helping people, and it’s a great place for that,” she said. “If you don’t agree with all the things leadership is doing, you won’t be able to make it there, even if you’re a great employee and you’re doing great work.”
To make matters worse, just before being terminated, the employee said she was exposed to COVID-19 from a co-worker who wasn’t wearing a mask.
After she was terminated, both she and her husband tested positive for COVID-19 and spent several weeks fighting the virus.
As News4 Investigates has done each time there has been an investigation into Dave Ramsey, News4 Investigations sent an email requesting an interview. News4 Investigates has not received a response from anyone from the company.