Restaurant Faces Investigation for Offering Church Discount

Todd Starnes, Fox News, July 5, 2012

A family-owned restaurant in Pennsylvania is under a state discrimination investigation for offering a ten percent discount for diners who present a church bulletin on Sundays.

The Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission confirmed there is an investigation against Prudhomme’s Lost Cajun Kitchen in the town of Columbia. The complaint was filed by John Wolff, a retired electrical engineer.

“I did this not out of spite, but out of a feeling against the prevailing self-righteousness that stems from religion, particular in Lancaster County,” Wolff told the York Daily Record. “I don’t consider it an earth-shaking affair, but in this area in particular, we seem to have so many self-righteous religious people, so it just annoys me.”

According to the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act, a restaurant is classified as a public accommodation.  As such, restaurants are not allowed to discriminate based on religion—among other things.

Sharon Prudhomme, who owns the restaurant along with her husband, said she’s not discriminating against anybody—and plans on fighting the charges.

“What freaks me out is the state of Pennsylvania is basically agreeing with this guy,” Prudhomme told Fox News Radio. “We’re just a mom and pop. We’re not some big chain like the Olive Garden.”

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Last Friday the restaurant was served with a 16-page complaint from the state of Pennsylvania—accusing her of discrimination.

“I’m an American,” Prudhomme said. “This is America. This is my business and we’re not breaking any laws.”

She said a representative from the state suggested that she should compromise and sign an agreement that she would offer discounts to any civic organization in the town.

“I said, ‘Wait a minute—you’re asking my husband and I to give anybody coming through my door a discount?’” she recounted. “They said yes.”

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Prudhomme said that’s just not going to happen.

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If the commission determines there’s enough evidence to support the complaint, it could be referred to a public hearing. Should the restaurant owners be found in violation, it’s unclear what penalty they might face.

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