Radio host and personal finance pundit Dave Ramsey and his company Ramsey Solutions are being sued for religious discrimination, fraud and misrepresentation based on claims that echo recent high-profile rumors about company culture, but also outline broader similarities to cults.
Legal representation for Brad Amos — a former employee of the Lampo Group who does business as Ramsey Solutions — filed the lawsuit in chancery court at the Williamson County Judicial Center. The suit alleges that the company facilitates a “cult-like” work environment that infringed upon Amos’ own beliefs regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.
The suit outlines an allegation from Amos about being obligated to attend a meeting of 900 employees after a confirmed case of COVID-19 among them was announced. The meeting — which the Scene reported on at the time — was to announce that no one would work remotely because Ramsey stated that a fear of working onsite due to COVID constituted "weakness of spirit," which he reiterated on his radio show.
Amos claims to have confronted board member and head of creative Luke LeFevre in front of staff about his concerns regarding the virus, especially because Amos' son has Coats disease. Amos was also concerned that the one confirmed COVID case at that point was someone who reportedly sat about 15 feet from Amos' work area.
Ramsey said the suit is rife with "blatantly false allegations" that are without merit.
"In fact, his inflammatory and false statements rise to the level of slander and defamation, and we are prepared to take action against Mr. Amos to stop him from making such comments about Ramsey Solutions," Ramsey tells Williamson Home Page. Ramsey says he thinks the suit is little more than a smear campaign aimed at ruining his reputation in extortion for a big settlement.
Amos’ lawyers allege that their client asked about preexisting rumors about “cult-like” attributes of the work environment almost a year before the pandemic reached the U.S., and the filed complaint outlines the latest chapter in an evolving saga of disparaging insights into the alleged Ramsey modus operandi.
Amos’ argument first establishes that interviewers and others at Ramsey Solutions reassured him before giving him the job that the company was not at all “cult-like.” It then outlines the ways in which the employee felt this was misleading.
Isolation from family
The first “cult-like” attribute had nothing to do with the pandemic as it took place during interviews and hiring during in summer 2019; rather, Amos claims the Lampo Group isolated him from family after interviewers initially reassured him that he would be allotted “unimpeded family time” and that the company itself was “family friendly.”
Manipulation of employee satisfaction reports
Amos adds that the Lampo Group emphasized to him during the interview phase that it had been voted “best place to work” for more than a decade straight by its own employees and that management had never interfered with the vote. He claims the firm compelled employees to vote in the first place and only to praise Dave Ramsey and his brand. Two weeks prior to the suit being filed, Inc. magazine also removed Ramsey Solutions from their "best workplaces" list.
Amos’ argument lists this among several oddities that he believes didn’t prove true. One of those oddities was a promise of opportunities for “quick and significant” advancements and salary increases based on work performance.
Amos, meanwhile, comes from Los Angeles, where he previously worked for BLT Communications as a motion picture trailer editor earning a salary just shy of a quarter-million dollars. He accepted a significant decrease in salary — $150,000 less — to take the job and claims the decision was based on the reassurances Ramsey Solutions had made.
Hired by Ramsey Solutions in August 2019, Amos attests to the Lampo Group’s onboarding process being partly comprised of what his lawyers call “3 days of indoctrinating employees to constantly praise Dave Ramsey and/or ‘The Ramsey Way.'"
The suit defines "The Ramsey Way" as a culture among employees of consistently “expressing deeply personal connection with Dave Ramsey.”
Exaltation of Ramsey allegedly started during on-boarding with group discussions in which employees share so-called “Dave Stories,” anecdotes about deeply personal moments wherein Ramsey somehow made significant impacts on their lives.
One of the on-boarding documents Amos received was Ramsey’s so-called “14-Point Philosophy” on which one of the points, “No Gossip,” explained a general rule against “backstabbing” yet defined all aspects of it as a “prohibition against any negative comments about Dave Ramsey or his management decisions.”
Invasion of private life
Two other parts of the interview process prior to being hired also involved a spousal dinner and personality testing. Amos’ wife was reportedly pushed to join the “Lampo Ladies” Facebook group, which he claims the Lampo Group used not only to make the wives of male employees be friends, but also to monitor them for signs of employees’ opinions, especially for any indicators of not being “onboard.”
Amos claims similar monitoring was also conducted via private weekly, half-hour, one-on-one meetings that he believes were meant to gauge his conformity (or lack thereof) to Ramsey’s religious beliefs both at the office and at home. He bases this on the “very personal” nature of the information mined out of these meetings about the employees themselves, such as answers to questions about life at home, their relationships with their spouses, their personal finances and mental health.
Selling new hires’ homes
Despite being told the reports were private, Amos contends that they were shared with upper management, and in these meetings, Amos claims to have privately expressed disdain about the circumstances of his relocation upon being hired, chiefly the sale of his home. He alleges the firm provided a real estate agent for which he never asked — one from Ramsey’s network of so-called “Endorsed Local Providers” (ELPs) to sell his home.
“These ELPs pay money to Ramsey for the privilege of being an ELP,” Amos’ lawyers claim. “In turn, Ramsey promotes these ELPs to their employees and on their shows.”
Earlier chapters in this saga include the 2014 Daily Beast report on Ramsey drawing a loaded gun in a staff meeting about the hazards of gossip and, more recently, the Religion News Service report on the firing of a pregnant employee for her not being married to the baby’s father — which led to an extreme email from the Ramsey camp to Religion News Service reporter Bob Smietana. Premarital sex reportedly contradicted the company’s code of ethics. Ramsey has also been slammed for hosting a large, maskless Christmas party during a peak in virus cases.