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Religious discrimination claimed in Texas IHOP firings

It doesn't matter what rung of the company ladder a person happens to stand on, the law in Texas and the rest of the United States makes it clear you can't be discriminated against on the basis of color, race or national origin. Religious affiliation carries protected status, as well. When those rights are violated, an attorney can help protect them and make the case for appropriate compensation.

A claim by former managers of four International House of Pancakes restaurants around Texas is one that is capturing some media attention lately. The four men allege they are victims of discrimination based on religious factors and national origin. Court filings say they were fired for no cause other than that they are Muslims of Arab descent.

All four of the restaurants are owned by the same franchisee and are located in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. According to official documents, one of the four fired men had worked for the IHOP franchise for 24 years. Another had been and employee for 12 years. The other two had worked for the company for five years. They were all fired during a stretch of months in 2010.

Backed by a finding by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that there is reasonable cause to suspect they were discriminated against, the four men recently filed suit in Texas district court. Named in the suit are IHOP and the local franchise owner, Anthraper Investments.

Specifically, the men claim they had never been disciplined in all their time in their jobs and each had received good reviews from supervisors. In addition, they say executives of the franchise made comments over time deriding how Arab men disrespect women and indicating that they were going to "let these people go." On the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, the men claim they were usually asked by executives to "lay low" at their restaurants.

The suit seeks back pay and compensation for damages resulting from their firing. None of the four has found work since being fired.

There's been no public comment from Anthraper officials. An IHOP spokesperson is on record as saying that the franchisee considers the charges to be without merit.

Source: ABC News, "Four Muslim Men Say Texas IHOP Franchise Fired Them for Religion and Nationality," Ashton Marra, April 19, 2012

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