US firm sacks 200 Muslim employees over prayer dispute

Though the company had provided a separate room for the Muslim employees to pray, the workers claim the policy has been changed.

US firm sacks 200 Muslim employees over prayer dispute
Picture for representation / AP Photo

Washington: Some 200 Muslim employees were fired from a meat-packing plant in the US following a disagreement over praying at work.

The victims, mostly Somalian immigrants, had complained about inadequate prayer time at Cargill Meat Solutions in Fort Morgan, Colorado.

Though the company had provided a separate room for the Muslim employees to pray, the workers claim the policy has been changed.

“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 media report quoted Jaylani Hussein, a council spokesperson, as saying.

According to the report on tribune.com.pk, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has claimed that the workers had been treated with prejudice and told, “If you want to pray, go home”.

However, the company said there has been a “misunderstanding” and its policy of allowing time for prayer has not changed.

A company spokesperson said that workers were advised that not turning up for work for three days in a row would put them at risk of losing their jobs and when they didn’t turn up they were terminated.

“Cargill makes every reasonable attempt to provide religious accommodations to all employees based on our ability to do so without disruption to our beef-processing business,” the spokesperson added.