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Charlotte IHOP Sued for Religious Discrimination and Retaliation

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has filed a lawsuit against Suncakes, LLC, doing business as IHOP in Charlotte, North Carolina, alleging violations of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act which provides for religious accommodations in the workplace and protects workers from retaliation for their religious beliefs.

A cook hired at the Charlotte IHOP restaurant requested and was granted an accommodation of not working on Sundays to honor his religious observances. After a change in management, the new general manager expressed hostility toward the accommodation and required the employee to work on two consecutive Sundays. After the second Sunday shift, the employee told the general manager he would not be working the following Sunday. The manager refused to allow the employee to work his next scheduled shift and fired him.

The manager then made comments to other employees such as, "religion should not take precedence" over the job and that the cook "thinks it is more important to go to church than to pay his bills."