Cellist: Religious bias cause for firing

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) — A cellist says she was terminated from her job with the Asheville Symphony because of her religious beliefs.

Media outlets report a civil rights complaint says Jacqueline Taylor was a tenured principal cellist with the group for 22 years and lost her job after requesting not to work on her Sabbath.

Taylor was baptized as a Seventh-day Adventist in 2014. The complaint says in March 2014, Taylor wasn’t granted an excused absence when she requested not to work on the Sabbath, which lasts from sunset Friday to sunset Saturday. Subsequently, she was terminated.

Symphony attorney Matthew Gilley says Taylor’s allegations are “unfounded” and the symphony acted appropriately.

Symphony Director David Whitehill says if Taylor wasn’t able to attend Friday and Saturday rehearsals for next season, her contract wouldn’t be renewed.