Wednesday, October 13, 2010

American Muslim Workers Sue for Prayer Breaks

I saw this story on a news website specific to the meat trade. It's a free site, but because you need to register, I've included the full article for those who don't want the latest meat trade information in their email twice daily.

Basically a group of Muslim workers is suing a meat packing plant for not letting them take prayer breaks at a specific time of day during Ramadan in 2008. The suit is being sponsored by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, a federal agency.

I've gotta say I feel for the company on this one. They appear to have done everything they could to accomodate the workers, even attempting to change their break times.

JBS discriminated against Muslim workers, Feds say

By Tom Johnston on
8/31/2010

Federal officials said JBS USA’s Grand Island, Neb., beef plant must provide Muslim workers prayer time and not retaliate against those who request it.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on Monday filed a lawsuit on behalf of 86 Somali Muslims who were fired after walking off the job during Ramadan of 2008.

“[JBS] has engaged in a pattern or practice of discrimination by (1) unlawfully denying reasonable religious accommodation to its Somali Muslim employees; and (2) unlawfully terminating its Somali Muslim employees because of their religion, national origin, and in retaliation for their requests for religious accommodation, and their complaints of denied religious accommodation,” the complaint states.

The suit seeks backpay and other compensation for the workers.

A similar suit was filed in Colorado aimed at JBS USA's Greeley, Colo., beef plant, an EEOC spokesoman told Meatingplace.

JBS did not respond to requests by Meatingplace for comment.

The company fired the workers in the fall of 2008 for repeatedly walking off the line while bartering for prayer accommodations during Ramadan, a month-long holiday during which worshipers fast from sunrise to sunset.

At one point JBS resolved to move up second-shift dinner break up to 7:45 p.m. from 8 p.m. so Muslim workers could observe the holiday. However, management changed its position after nearly 400 non-Muslim workers walked off the job, protesting that the company's decision unfairly catered to their peers.

The EEOC spokeswoman said the break-time requests the Muslim workers made were within timeframes permissible in their bargaining agreements.

It's fair to say comments on the article were pretty solidly in favour of the company.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

What this, and the ever increasing reports of related hassles, will amount to is that no one will want to hire Muslims. Too much potential for trouble.

It just can't end well.

Anonymous said...

So it begins... and you can't enjoy these perqs because you ain't Muslim. (real conservative)

Anonymous said...

The major complaint is that the sub-class non-muslims must make up the work-load for the Muslims.
But lets see if the Muslims will demand to work on Christmas day? , Oh wait, they want all those benefits and impose Shariah in the workplace.

Nicole said...

These muslim immigrants should realize they are coming to another country in which I assume they want a better life. We have our own way of doing things, dont expect american workers to adapt to your beliefs.