Ann Maher May 21, 2013, 9:50am

A Madison County religious discrimination suit against an East Alton rent-to-own store has been removed to federal court.

Ralph Calame Jr. sued Aaron’s Inc. on April 1 claiming he was unlawfully fired for his religious beliefs in March 2012.

Calame worked for Aaron’s and was treated well until his regional manager found out he was a pastor in a church, the complaint alleges. After learning about his work with the church, Calame claims the regional manager harassed him at work and eventually fired him in March 2012.

Calame contends Aaron’s violated the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964. He asks for more than $50,000 in damages for lost wages, benefits and costs of the lawsuit.

Attorney Thomas O. Falb of Alton represents Calame.

The removal notice to the Southern District of Illinois shows that attorneys Richard B. Lapp and Kyle R. Hartman of Seyfarth Shaw in Chicago represent Aaron’s.

Madison County Circuit Court Case No. 13-L-521

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