(WASHINGTON, D.C., 1/16/16) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today called on a Wisconsin-based manufacturer to allow Muslim workers to pray while at work using a previous policy pending a resolution of a dispute over religious accommodation triggered by a change in that policy.
More than 50 Muslim workers at the Ariens plant in Brillion, Wisc., lost their jobs after the company changed its policy to only allow prayers during scheduled breaks, not when the prayers must be made according to Islamic beliefs. Before the policy change, the Somali Muslim workers were able to leave the production line to pray two of the five daily prayers.
“These types of accommodation disputes can be resolved in a spirit of respect for constitutionally-protected religious rights and for the legitimate needs of both employees and employers,” said CAIRNational Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper. “We ask Ariens to revert to its previous policy allowing religious accommodation until a resolution can be reached that allows the workers to practice their faith and permits an efficient manufacturing process.”
He said CAIR is reaching out to the fired workers and to the company.
Hooper noted that federal law requires employer to offer reasonable religious accommodation to workers of all faiths.
Earlier this month, CAIR welcomed a change in policy allowing Muslim workers fired in a recent dispute over accommodation of prayers at a Cargill meat processing plant in Colorado to reapply for their positions 30 days after their termination date, instead of the previous 180-day period. CAIR has been retained to represent the majority of the workers fired from the plant.
CAIR offers a booklet, called "An Employer's Guide to Islamic Religious Practices," to help corporate managers gain a better understanding of Islam and Muslims.
CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
- END -