Dave Ramsey
Dave Ramsey sits in his broadcasting studio in Brentwood, Tenn. Ramsey Solutions later moved to a new corporate headquarters in Franklin. (AP Photo/Josh Anderson, File)

Dave Ramsey’s Company Dropped from ‘Best Workplaces’ List

By Bob Smietana

The company owned by Christian financial guru and radio host Dave Ramsey is no longer one of the best places to work in America, according to Inc. magazine.

The national business publication dropped Franklin, Tennessee-based Ramsey Solutions from its 2020 “Best Workplaces” list after the company was sued by a former employee, Caitlin O’Conner, for discrimination. O’Connor claims she was fired from Ramsey Solutions after applying for family leave because she was pregnant.

Her lawsuit claims Ramsey Solutions “discriminates against employees who do not strictly adhere to Ramsey’s interpretation of ‘Judeo-Christian’ values for non-work related behavior.”

In court documents, Ramsey Solutions said O’Connor, who is not married, was fired for having premarital sex, which violated the company’s “righteous living” policy.  

“There is no dispute that Plaintiff was aware of this rule and terminated for violating it,” Ramsey’s lawyer said in a March filing. The company also said that, since 2016, it has disciplined eight other employees, both men and women, for having premarital sex.

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After learning of the lawsuit, Inc. dropped Ramsey Solutions from the “Best Workplaces” list.

“Ramsey has the right to manage its business in accordance with its values, and the court system will determine the merits of the lawsuit,” Inc. assistant editor Sophie Downes wrote in announcing the decision. “Upon learning about the company’s ‘righteous living’ policy and how it is applied, we believe that it is incompatible with our standards of organizational excellence and have made the editorial decision to remove the company from our 2020 Best Workplaces list.”

Dave Ramsey
People attend a worship service on Jan. 14, 2021, at Ramsey Solutions headquarters in Franklin, Tennessee. (RNS photo by Bob Smietana)

About 3,000 companies applied to be included on Inc.’s annual Best Workplaces list. The list seeks to recognize companies where people love to work, one that sets the standard for excellence in company,” according to Inc.

Ramsey Solutions did not reply to a request for comment. The company, which employs about 900 people, has received millions in tax breaks for expanding its headquarters and promising to create hundreds of new jobs.

Dave Ramsey and other leaders have told employees the company relies on being named to the “Best Workplaces” list as a recruiting tool, according to a recording of a staff meeting discussing the surveys, obtained by Religion News Service. Leaders also warned employees that if they can’t answer surveys that put the company in a positive light, they should leave.

Ramsey, whose Financial Peace University materials are used by thousands of churches, has been at the center of controversy over the past year for his comments about the COVID-19 pandemic. From the beginning, he has downplayed the threat of the coronavirus and called mask-wearing a sign of fear and required all employees to work in the office. During a staff meeting last year, Ramsey also threatened to fire an employee who filed an OSHA complaint against the company’s response to COVID-19. The company held a large-scale, mostly maskless, in-person Christmas party.

Ramsey recently filmed a video in support of a law that would label mask mandates as discriminatory. His company is also suing a Florida resort, claiming the hotel’s enforcement of mask bans cost Ramsey millions in revenue when they had to cancel a conference.

The financial guru has long defended his company’s moral code, saying it is needed to create a godly work atmosphere.

Ramsey Solutions recently cut ties with Chris Hogan, a high-profile employee who was seen as a possible successor to Ramsey. In a video announcement posted in March, Hogan said he had “done some things personally that are not in line with Ramsey Solutions” and had left the company.

Chris Hogan
Chris Hogan as host of his own popular show on the Ramsey Solutions platform. (Source: Video screengrab)

“This week, new information came to light that Chris Hogan has recently done some things personally that are not in line with Ramsey Solutions’ core values,” the company said in a statement after Hogan left. “As a result of his current actions and behavior, Chris Hogan is no longer a team member at Ramsey or a Ramsey Personality. “

Before his firing, Ramsey and other company leaders had long known of allegations of misconduct against Hogan. Hogan’s ex-wife, Melissa Hogan, said she came to Ramsey leadership in November 2018 with allegations Chris had been unfaithful to her.

Hogan has since admitted having at least two affairs, including one with a coworker at Ramsey Solutions.

At a May 2019 staff meeting, Ramsey told his employees, “If you are worrying about our integrity in leadership and are we covering up for (Hogan) because he is a big brand, the answer is no. No.”

But the situation drew criticism that the company’s moral codes were selectively enforced. 

Hogan left the company not long after O’Connor’s attorney had requested copies of his personal file as part of the discovery for the lawsuit.

Bob SmietanaBob Smietana is a national reporter for Religion News Service.

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20 thoughts on “Dave Ramsey’s Company Dropped from ‘Best Workplaces’ List”

  1. Whatever you may think about Dave Ramsey, the gist of this story is that INC. magazine is not comfortable with Christian values, which puts them in line with most of corporate America.

    1. I disagree with your assessment. The focus of the story is indeed Dave Ramsey’s company’s values. I think these are not necessarily synonymous with Christian values, and can be critiqued without necessarily criticizing Christianity.

    2. If you want to be inspired by a large corporation that is anchored in Christian values, look no farther than Chick Fil A. I have had non-Christian friends choose to work there (or become a franchise owner) and repeatedly RAVE about their experience, telling me things like, “I am not a Christian, but the way they have treated me and my family, I get the appeal!”, “I may not agree with my company’s faith, but it’s hard not to be drawn to it when you see so many people REALLY living it,” or “I expected to be a bit ostracized for not really being into the morning devotionals and pre-meeting prayers, but no one has treated me with anything but caring and kindness.” I even had the chance to share my faith with someone who didn’t understand the frequent references to parables (like leaders being asked “We’ve been given good seed, but how’s our soil?”at the end of a summit).
      This is a FAR cry from what I’ve heard about Ramsey Solutions. Yes, the Word is a double-edged sword to be used for correction, but it should not be used as a weapon to disgracefully cut down others – even fellow believers caught in sin. I’d like to think we as Christians would know that given we just celebrated Easter.
      A bully with a Bible is still a bully.

  2. Larry, If that were the case why would they have ever been on the list of best places to work? And why wouldn’t they have been taken off the list a lot sooner? It’s never been a secret that they were a Christian company.
    I’m very grateful for the diligence in The continued reporting of Dave Ramsey‘s corporation. Accountability is so important.

  3. I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.
    Galatians 2:21

    Not to excuse sin one bit. But Jesus said, let him who is without this sin cast the first stone. Perhaps a bit of mercy would soften the corporate demands and portray the love of the Savior to all of us who’ve fallen down at some point. If this woman were a raucous, flagrant adulterer or worse, a politician, then I could see the demand for harsh accountability to the point of termination. But the fact that she was hired in the first place indicates that she’s probably a believer, flawed like all of us. Mercy. I need the LORD’S mercy and grace every day on my journey to sanctification. Perhaps she does as well.

  4. Ramsey needs to decide if he is running a business or a church/religious non-profit. If he is doing the latter, he has every right to enforce his biblical rules of morality. If he is running a public business, he does not, according to U.S corporate law. I agree that his employees are flaunting biblical norms, but I don’t think that the Supreme Court will.

    1. “No shirt, No shoes, No service” Lynn, don’t we all abide by Rules and Regulations on a daily basis? Could you drive on I95 100 mph and NOT expect to get pulled over? So, doesn’t Ramsey Solutions have a right to enforce THEIR rules and regulations for THEIR company? If you don’t like it, find another job!!

      1. This is the same thing I say about people decrying getting banned from Twitter/Facebook/etc. They have terms and conditions that are posted, emailed out, and updated regularly, declaring what their standards and policies are – including what will happen if you break them.
        Yet somehow when enforced, instead of “if you don’t like it, find another platform!”, conservatives start crying about censorship/freedom of speech (a misuse of both terms). Interesting, huh?
        Perhaps the issue is how violations are treated – not having adequate, consistent processes. That is something to be discussed.

      2. I agree that you should obey the rules. The concern here is that Ramsey and his company are violating certain federal laws that apply to pregnant women and their situations. He is not a church/religious 501C3, but a company that has to abide by certain non-discriminatory federal laws.

        By the way, I don’t sanction that kind of behavior at all. But, legally, different rules apply to non-profit companies than they do to for-profits. Ramsey is a for-profit. Either way, I wouldn’t work for his company to begin with. His ministry seems to be all about big bucks and hype, not the Jesus I know that told me to have my treasure in heaven. And Ramsey acts like bully.

  5. She knew and agreed to the rules ahead of time. She blatantly disregarded them.

    Perhaps letting her go with a display of love would be thing to do. I am suggesting medical leave with insurance & severance until birth. I wonder if she was given any severance and for how long?

    It is nearly impossible to get another job while you are pregnant and you certainly cannot get new insurance coverage in the middle of pregnancy. A lot of corporations do not encourage the hiring of married women who are childbearing bearing age. It keeps insurance policy costs way down. It’s huge.

    We are all sinners. All of us. I am but a filthy rag. But for the grace of the Lord I would be doomed to hell.

    I do not know this woman, or what her story is. It is impossible not to sin. It is important to confess your sin and repent. I do not know why she decided to work there. But she did.

  6. “One of the best places to work in America?”

    Ramsey Solutions doesn’t qualify as “a good place to work” anywhere outside of a theocracy.

  7. She did not file a lawsuit for the violation of FMLA act which is federally protected but that she did not know out of marriage pregnancy is discrimination. If you have this policy I am sure she signed a disclosure agreement upon hiring and she plays innocent and I did not know. I have to believe that this is payback for being fired but I admire that Ramsey has a values policy but I am sure he expected to be taken on by some but she has no excuse because if was properly disclosed and I am sure the lawsuit will be dismissed with a MSJ.

  8. Astonishing that they didn’t get booted from the list long before this for flagrantly endangering employees in this pandemic by not following basic preventive measure such as masks.

    I’ve worked at “christian” ministries before and will never do so again. Consistently they are some of the worst, most dysfunctional places and their treatment of employees can be horrific.

    1. If you’re going to have a policy, you need to also have procedures in place to carry it out. It sounds like Ramsey Solutions made up different procedures every time there was a need to apply the policy. Thus the selective enforcement. But what kind of owner/boss keeps on doing that after not the first, but the fourth, fifth, or sixth time that the policy is violated? It’s not rocket science: you sit down and think of all the ways the policy might apply to employees, and figure out all the different ways to handle it in those several or dozen situations, then you edit the procedures for streamlining. There’s no need for shaming or emotional bullying, and there’s room for Christian grace. Oh, but it takes emotional strength and thoughtful deliberation and willingness to learn from others and collaborate with people who bring different gifts to the table than oneself.

  9. Dave Ramsey is on the losing end of being the defendant. Some judge will rule against his company and give him a lecture on privacy and how discriminatory his maternity leave policy is. Then I hope Dave doesn’t bother to appeal because he will then lose his customers in mass numbers. This lawsuit is easy for him and his company to settle and admit the policy is wrong and write a new policy to have to approve by a judge. That way he can avoid another embarrassment.

  10. The foolish and their money are soon parted. Especially the ones willing to pay money to get advice from Dave Ramsey.

  11. Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. 
    Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.
    Galatians 6:1-2

    Oh!

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