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Government suing Taco Bell franchisee over employee firing

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FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (AP) -- 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 that 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
Nazarites, 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.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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