IHOP is in some hot syrup over allegations that some Muslims employees were told to "lay low" every September 11.
Four former IHOP employees are claiming that they were fired from their jobs simply because they are Muslim, according to ABC News. The men, who all worked at restaurants in the Dallas/Fort Worth area for several years, filed a lawsuit against IHOP and Anthraper Investments -- the company that owns the franchises where the men worked -- alleging that company officials harassed the men and made derogatory comments against them.
"How do you explain that you’re going to allow comments about their religion, how Arabic men treat women, how they get an email every Sept. 11 saying lay low from their managers. What does that mean?" the former employees' attorney said at a demonstration against IHOP outside a Dallas courthouse, according to a Dallas Ft. Worth Fox affiliate.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ruled recently there is reasonable cause to suspect that Anthraper harassed at least two workers and fired them based on their nationality, according to the Fox affiliate. An IHOP attorney has said that he disputes the EEOC's findings.
The incident isn't IHOP's first brush with worker discrimination allegations. A former employee sued a Columbia, Missouri IHOP and three of its employees in January, alleging he was wrongfully terminated after he confronted an employee who had repeatedly used racial slurs against him, the Columbia Daily Tribune reports.
In addition, IHOP isn't the only company in recent months to come under fire for its treatment of Muslim employees. The Council of American-Islamic relations alleged that Whole Foods wrongfully terminated a Muslim employee last year, after he was repeatedly harassed about his religious practices.
Hertz also fired 25 Muslim employees last year, who reportedly refused to clock out when they took breaks to pray, the Seattle Times reports. The company alleged that the workers were taking longer paid breaks than the two 10-minute period they were allotted.