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Claiming he was fired for refusing to follow the teachings of Scientology, a New York man has filed suit against the Le Bus chain of restaurants and its CEO, David Braverman. Attorney Alan B. Epstein of Philadelphia’s Spector Gadon & Rosen filed the suit on behalf of Adam Ritter who says he began working at Le Bus in 1991 as a waiter and rose through the ranks to the post of director of operations with a 5 percent equity interest. The suit says David Braverman, CEO and owner of Le Bus Enterprises, is a “devout follower of the Church of Scientology.” Beginning in 1998, the suit alleges that Braverman began to pressure Ritter to follow the teachings of Scientology. The “proselytizing” in the workplace had a direct effect on Ritter’s job, the suit says, because Braverman and other Scientologists undermined his authority as a stockholder and officer and he was often “overruled” by Le Bus employees who were members of the church. Braverman later brought in Scientology “business consultants,” the suit says, to implement “Scientology-based theories of management” and to proselytize the teachings of the church to the employees. Ritter claims he was told that to keep his job, he must read and study the Scientology materials. When he refused, the suit alleges, his job duties were “dramatically altered” and he was threatened with dismissal. A month later, in November 1998, when he maintained his refusal to cooperate in proselytizing pressures, he was fired, the suit says. Since then, Ritter says, the company has refused to acknowledge his 5 percent ownership. The suit sounds in claims of religious discrimination, breach of contract and violations of the Pennsylvania business corporations law. The case, Ritter v. Big Fork LLC, 00-cv-5542, has been assigned to Senior U.S. District Judge Clifford Scott Green of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

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