Feds file lawsuit in Taco Bell haircut dispute

Feds file lawsuit in Taco Bell haircut dispute

July 29th, 2011 by Associated Press in Local - Breaking News

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. - The federal government is suing a North Carolina Taco Bell franchisee, claiming the company fired an employee whose religious beliefs prohibit him from cutting his hair.

In the lawsuit filed Thursday, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission claims Family Foods Inc. illegally fired Christopher Abbey from a Fayetteville Taco Bell in April 2010.

The complaint says Abbey was told to cut his hair or lose his job. Abbey belongs to an obscure religious group called the Nazirites (NAZZ'-uh-rites), whose members cite Old Testament passages as forbidding haircuts.

The EEOC says firing Abbey over his religious beliefs is against the law. The agency wants policy changes at Family Foods along with back pay and damages for Abbey.

No one answered the phone at the company's office Thursday afternoon.