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Entries in Wrongful Termination (3)

Wednesday
May092012

Man Claims Burger King Fired Him After Revealing HIV Diagnosis

Scott Olson/Getty Images(CHESAPEAKE, Va.) -- Virginia resident Christopher Pena is alleging that Burger King fired him last year because he was diagnosed with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

In a lawsuit brought last week, Pena, 35, said he was a district manager for nine Burger King restaurants in Chesapeake and Virginia Beach when he alerted his superiors about his condition in June 2011 that was discovered just two months earlier.

By September, Pena was given his walking papers due to what were termed as performance issues.

According to Pena, he had never been reprimanded during the eight years he spent at Burger King until he revealed he had HIV and then he was called on the carpet for firing an employee who had stolen money from the restaurant.

Victor Viramontes, national senior counsel of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund that is representing Pena, says Burger King picked on the former manager's performance because, "It's rare that a sophisticated employer would say they were terminating you based on what the law says they can't use."

Pena wants an unspecified amount for damages and lost wage.  He remains unemployed since his firing.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Apr192012

Four Men Say Texas IHOP Franchise Fired Them for Being Muslim

Steve Floethe/Getty Images(DALLAS) -- Four former managers of IHOP restaurants in Texas are fighting the owner of the franchise they worked for in court, claiming they were wrongfully terminated based on their "nationality and religion."

The four men, all identified in court papers as "Muslims of Arab descent," worked as managers at the Dallas/Fort Worth area locations.  Hussein Chamseddine was employed by the franchise for 12 years, Rami Saleh and Brandon Adam each for five years, and Chekri Bakro for 24 years.

According to a complaint filed in a Texas district court, the men allege they were fired without cause.

"They weren't terminated because someone complained or because someone didn't like their attitude," said Sara Kane, a civil rights attorney representing the men.  "They were fired because of who they are.  That is the determining factor."

All four men were terminated between March and October of 2010.  Together they filed a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which found merit in the men's claim that they were harassed and terminated due to religion and national origins.

"The IHOP corporation has a four-step disciplinary procedure," Kane said.  "The franchisee did not follow any of those steps."

Kane, along with attorney Jay Ellwanger, filed suit on behalf of the men on Tuesday, against IHOP and Anthraper Investments, the firm that owns the four franchises involved in Arlington, Burleston, Fort Worth and Plano, Texas.

The suit alleges that the men experienced harassment from Anthraper management, including derogatory comments made by the company's President and COO John Anthraper, Vice President Alex Anthraper and Texas District Manager Larry Hawker.

Representatives of Anthraper Investments did not return phone calls to ABC News for comment.  A woman who answered the phone at the home of John Anthraper said he was out of the country.

The IHOP Corporation issued the following statement regarding the lawsuit: "We believe the employment practices of our company and our independent franchisees are non-discriminatory and inclusive.  We have a long history of supporting diversity in all aspects of our business.  Our franchisee believes the allegations are without merit and looks forward to the fair conclusion of this matter."

Kane said her clients are seeking back wages and payment for emotional damages following their terminations.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Sep112011

Fired Michigan Pharmacist Who Shot at Robbers Sues Walgreens

Jay LaPrete/Bloomberg via Getty Images(CHICAGO) -- In Benton Township, Michigan, two armed robbers wearing masks burst into a near-deserted Walgreens on May 8, 2011 at 4:30 a.m.  To pharmacist Jeremy Hoven, it was a prescription for trouble, so he filled it with hot lead.

A video, newly released by Hoven's attorneys, shows how events unfolded.

Drawing his own gun, Hoven fired at the attackers and drove them off, saving not just himself but two Walgreens co-workers, as well as the pharmacy's valuable prescription drugs.  By way of saying thanks, Walgreens fired him last week.

Hoven, in an interview with the Benton Township Herald-Palladium, said he had acted out of fear.

"The adrenaline was taking over," he said.  "You could have probably taken my pulse from my breath, because my heart was beating that much."

Only 42 seconds elapsed from start to finish, and all the action was captured on surveillance video.

Before firing, Hoven first tried dialing 911.  But before he could complete the call, the first of the two robbers had vaulted over a counter and was standing five feet away from him.  That's when the pharmacist went for his own gun and opened fire.

The video appears to confirm that Hoven's actions were defensive, and were made only in response to the robbers' attack.

Peter Kosick, Hoven's attorney, told ABC News that, in his opinion, Walgreens should have commended his client for bravery.  That, too, is the opinion of township police Lt. Delman Lange, who, after reviewing the surveillance video, told the local paper, "If it was me, I would have done the same thing."

Though Hoven was licensed by the state of Michigan to carry a gun, Walgreen discourages its pharmacists from packing pistols.  A spokeswoman for the drug chain told ABC News in an email that while Walgreens would not be able to disclose its policies, they were written to protect the safety of customers and employees.

"Store employees receive comprehensive training on our robbery procedures and how to react and respond," she wrote.  Walgreens' approach is "endorsed by law enforcement, which strongly advises against confrontation of crime suspects.  Compromise is safer."

Kosick told ABC News that his client fired carefully and responsibly.  He said Hoven fired only to maintain "a safe zone" for himself.  The only thing behind the robber, according to Hoven, was a cinderblock wall.

Kosick also said local residents are solidly behind his client.

"I'd say 95 percent are in favor of what he did," he said. "It's really outraged people.  Not just gun advocates but people on the street.  They stop and tell me they'd have done the same thing, only they wouldn't have missed.  They're outraged by what Walgreens has done.  They're talking boycott, saying they will take their business to CVS or Wal-Mart."

Hoven has filed a lawsuit against Walgreens for wrongful termination.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio