IHOP Faces Discrimination Lawsuit

Former employees say they were terminated because of their religion

Four former managers have filed a federal lawsuit against the International House of Pancakes and a local franchise owner saying they were fired because they are Muslim.

"About a year and a half ago, the rug was pulled underneath simply because of the way their names look, the way they appear, where they come from and the religion they practice,” said James Vagnini, their attorney. “This is unacceptable in this country in this day and age."

The men worked at franchise restaurants in Fort Worth, Arlington, Plano and Burleson.

Joseph Chamseddine, who worked six to seven days a week for more than a decade at the chain restaurant, said he feels wronged.

"I think what they did to us to me and my managers is unfair, unethical and illegal," he said.

An investigation conducted by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity commission found that "violations have occurred" at the company.

"We have a long history of supporting diversity in all aspects of our business,” IHOP said in a statement. “Our franchisee believes the allegations are without merit and looks forward to the fair conclusion of this matter."

The four plaintiffs say they are still unemployed because of the damage to their reputations and would like letters of recommendation from IHOP for future employers.

They also want the company to add a diversity team and have employees undergo sensitivity training.

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