CO Burger Chain Settles Religious Discrimination Allegations

September 15, 2005 ( - A Greenwood Village, Colorado restaurant chain has agreed to settle a religious discrimination lawsuit over the firing of a waiter who had religious tattoos on his wrists.

The agreement disposes of a lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on behalf of Edward Rangel Jr., 26, who worked for Red Robin Gourmet Burgers for about six months in 2002, the Rocky Mountain News reported.

Rangel belongs to an ancient Egyptian faith called Kemet or Kemetic. His text-only tattoos, about one-quarter inch wide encircling each wrist, contain the name of God, Rangel said in an interview Wednesday.

The manager wanted him to cover the tattoos with wristbands, he said. Rangel refused. “You can’t cover it up – it’s like killing the name of God,” he said. Until the new manager started, Rangel said, no other bosses or co-workers objected to the markings, even though the company’s dress code prohibits visible tattoos.

Rangel claimed he tried to appeal his firing but received no encouragement from upper management, including former Chief Executive Officer Jim McCloskey.

In court filings, Red Robin denied the discrimination allegations.