Ariens Co. is located in Brillion, Wisconsin. They manufacture snow blowers and lawn mowers. They recently fired seven employees after they ignored company policy and took extra breaks for prayers. Fourteen others resigned over the dispute, and the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has filed a religious discrimination complaint.
“Prior to January 25, 2016, Ariens permitted Muslim employees to individually leave their workstations one at a time to pray after notifying and receiving permission from their supervisor,” CAIR said this week.
Ariens Co. provided the Somali workers a room for their prayers and also a bus service to bring them to and from home and work. But feeling the workers were taking too many breaks, the company asked that they limit prayer time to two 10-minute breaks for prayer.
Under federal law, that policy change could be illegal “unless they can prove ‘undue hardship,’ and that is definitely what is at the heart of the matter,” CAIR national communications director Ibrahim Hooper told the Monitor in January.
Muslims are required to pray five times a day.
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