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Workers laid off from Colorado meat packing plant after prayer dispute

Posted: December 31, 2015 at 1:37 pm by , in Breaking News, Featured, Morning Magazine

“It has unfortunately resulted in discrimination against a lot of these people that are just asking for a 4 or 5 minute break that usually falls within either the 15 minute paid break or the 30 minute unpaid lunch break.”

About 190 workers, most of them immigrants, from Somalia, have been fired from a meat packing and distribution plant in Fort Morgan in Eastern Colorado after they walked off the the job on December 18th, to protest a workplace prayer dispute. The workers at the Cargill plant were Muslim who had asked for a few minutes each day to pray.

The Council on American Islamic Relations is representing many of the fired workers. Jenifer Wicks, the Civil Rights Litigation Director for CAIR says that the company has made it clear that they’re open to discussions about how to make the religious accommodation. “I think the problem in this case is that the accommodation request must be made on a daily basis by each worker.” Wicks says that this means there’s no plan ahead of time to accommodate the workers prayer requests “that’s what creates this ongoing problem where there’s a supervisor on the floor that’s making a determination and ultimately it has unfortunately resulted in discrimination against a lot of these people that are just asking for a 4 or 5 minute break that usually falls within either the 15 minute paid break or the 30 minute unpaid lunch break.”