Chick-fil-A, the fast food restaurant chain that claims to have invented the chicken sandwich, has been accused of discriminating against employees in some locations nationwide.
The restaurant was accused of discrimination after allegedly sponsoring a group called Focus on the Family— an organization that is against gay marriage and abortion rights.
The company has more than 1,500 locations across the United States, and is the only national fast-food chain that is closed on Sunday.
“Our decision to close on Sunday was our way of honoring God,” the company’s founder, S. Truett Cathy said.
Those who operate Chick-fil-A franchises are expected to utilize their Sundays by going to church and spending time with their families, and those who don’t go along with the rule risk having their contracts terminated.
“You don’t have to be a Christian to work at Chick-fil-A, but we ask you to base your business on biblical principles because they work,” Cathy, who opened his first restaurant in 1946, said.
There are disagreements about non-Christians being allowed to work at one of Cathy’s restaurants. Aziz Latif was a Chick-fil-A restaurant manager in Houston when he refused to participate in a group prayer to Jesus Christ at a company training program. The following day he was fired.
Aziz, who is Muslim, sued for employment discrimination. His attorney said that Aziz was fired “for not conforming.”
“Religion should not be brought into the workplace,” attorney Ajay Choudhary said. “Prayer should be, if anything, a private purpose, not a corporate purpose.”
The suit was settled on undisclosed terms.
Mark Baldwin, senior communications supervisor for Chick-fil-A, turned down “an interview at this time,” but sent a press release titled Chick-fil-A’s Closed-on-Sunday Policy. The policy states that “…more than 60 years ago, Cathy knew that he would not deal with money on the ‘Lord’s Day.’ Today, the Closed-on-Sunday policy is reflected in the company’s Corporate Purpose:” To glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us, and to have a positive influence on all who come in contact with Chick-fil-A.
Chick-fil-A has promoted religious groups through their children’s meals as well, including toys from the Christian television series “VeggieTales” and CDs from the Christian radio program “Adventures in Odyssey”, which is produced by the evangelical Christian organization Focus on the Family.
Chick-fil-A funds the WinShape Foundation, whose endeavors include summer camps for boys and girls, foster homes and a marriage retreat. The stated purpose of the latter is “to minister to couples in strengthening their marriages.”
Not everyone is welcome, however. While Chick-fil-A will serve chicken sandwiches to gays, same-sex couples are not accepted at the marriage retreat.
“We do not accept homosexual couples,” was the official reply from WinShape.
At Fresno State’s Chick-fil-A location, assistant manager Marisol Martinez referred all inquiries to corporate headquarters in Atlanta.
The campus Chick-fil-A does offer certain advantages.
“There’s never a line,” freshman Kaylen Burton said. “It’s easy and convenient.”