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Dallas Men Accuse IHOP of Employment Discrimination

A group of Dallas, Texas, area men recently filed a workplace discrimination lawsuit, claiming they were fired from the IHOP restaurant chain because of their Muslim beliefs and Arab backgrounds. In the lawsuit the men stated that over a period of several years, IHOP owners directed a number of discriminatory comments toward them that belittled their religious beliefs and national origins, despite the men's' status as American citizens. The men allege they were fired from their jobs because the IHOP owners wanted non-Arab workers, even though all four men had records of positive performance evaluations.

The employment discrimination case was reviewed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission which found "reasonable cause" that the workers had been harassed and fired based on their religious and ethnic backgrounds. The EEOC is a federal agency that enforces federally mandated standards of employment practices. Federal law prohibits employers from discriminating against or harassing employees on the basis of their race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability or genetic information.

Victims of workplace harassment and employment discrimination must first file a Charge of Discrimination with the EEOC before they can file a lawsuit directly against their employer. The EEOC will investigate the claims to find possible violations of employment law.

If the agency finds no evidence that an employment law has been violated, claimants are given a Notice of Right to Sue, which allows them to file a civil suit against their employer. However, if the agency finds evidence that discrimination has occurred, it may determine that there is reasonable cause to believe the law has been violated. In this case, the EEOC will first try to reach a voluntary settlement with the at-fault employer. If settlement arrangements are not made, the case is directed to the EEOC's legal staff or the Department of Justice. It is then up to one of these agencies to decide whether to pursue legal action on a claimant's behalf. If legal action is declined, the claimant is then given a Notice of Right to Sue so that he or she may personally file suit against the employer.

A Texas EEOC advocate can help employees who are looking to be compensated for workplace discrimination. Discrimination can be wrongful termination, harassment and other issues around compensation and movement within the corporation.

Source: wfaa.com, "Dallas men say IHOP fired them because they are Muslim," Teresa Woodard, April 17, 2012

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