A dispute over praying at work led to 200 Muslims meat-packers being fired in the US
The employees claim that policy regarding prayer had been changed, but the company asserts that there had been a misunderstanding. (Twitter)
A meat-packing plant has fired nearly 200 Muslim employees after a dispute over praying at work was not resolved. Most of the workers were Somali immigrants, employed at Cargill Meat Solutions in Fort Morgan, Colorado. A company spokesperson said that despite meeting with workers, community representatives and union leaders, they were unable to solve the dispute.
The employees in question staged a walkout after claiming that accommodations were not being made for them to pray during work hours. The company warned them that if they did not show up to work three days in a row, then they may face termination. When 200 failed to come to comply with the ultimatum, they were fired.
According to the company, a “reflection room” has been available for employees to pray in since 2009, however the workers claimed that policies had since changed. The company denied this, saying that time being available to pray had not changed and that there had been a misunderstanding.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) claimed that employees had been told that they should go home is they wanted to pray. Jaylani Hussein, a spokesperson for the organization, said, “All of these employees are good employees and don't have any other issues. They feel missing their prayer is worse than losing their job. It's like losing a blessing from God.”
A company spokesperson defended the company’s actions.
“At no time did Cargill prevent people from prayer at Fort Morgan. Nor have we changed policies related to religious accommodation and attendance. This has been mischaracterized,” he said.
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