Wal-Mart Fires Man For Attire

Daniel Lorenz was fired last week for reporting for to work in his priest's shirt with Roman collar, an Arab headdress and six crosses.

Supervisors had warned Lorenz that his job was at risk over his appearance but Lorenz, 20, ignored requests to shed the shirt and collar claiming they reflect his unique spiritual beliefs.

"I told them that would be like turning my back on God, and I couldn't do that," said the Pipe Creek man whose religious fervor was fueled by a 2001 trip to Turkey, Syria, Jordan and Egypt. There, Lorenz first donned a kaffiyeh, an Arab headdress of folded cloth that's held on by a cord.

Rounding out his unorthodox look are patches on his hip pack bearing the anarchy symbol and the words "vampire" and "ninja."

Armed with secretly recorded tapes of counseling sessions with his bosses, Lorenz has filed a complaint over his March 1 dismissal by Wal-Mart with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

"I believe I have been discriminated against because of my religion, universal belief," he said in a sworn affidavit filed with the agency Tuesday.

Lorenz's ponytail and fuzzy chin reflect his belief that hair should not be cut because he is only "borrowing" his body. He won't date or marry, because all humans are family, he said, and that would make it incest.

Co-workers had varying views of Lorenz, who was a cashier and then a bakery staffer before becoming an overnight stocker for $8.30 an hour. One called him "whacko"; another said he was "a great guy."

Lorenz's mother, who works at Wal-Mart, said she's the only other adherent to her son's spiritual doctrine, which is now being put to paper. "We were Baptists until about three years ago, and then we got really deep into this type of belief." said Catherine Lorenz, 44

News of the dress code feud surprised Earl Floyd, a salesman at a Bandera auto dealership that last year gave Lorenz a 1985 Suburban after his old car died and he didn't qualify for financing on a newer one. "I've seen him a dozen times, but never with the headdress," Floyd said Thursday.

Also filing an EEOC complaint Tuesday was Melanie Lorenz, Daniel's sister, who claims Wal-Mart fired her last month in retaliation for reporting a co-worker's inappropriate remarks.

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