A Muslim civil liberties advocacy organization announced Thursday that it plans to file an action on behalf of 24 former employees of DHL Express. They were discharged after demanding that the company provide Muslim prayer time during working hours.
The Cincinnati chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations said it will initiate a civil rights complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission due to a company rule change that denied the three full-time, and 19 part-time workers time out for Muslim prayer at DHL’s Hebron, Ky. facility, according to WCPO.
According to a CAIR press release, the employees, all of whom are Somali Muslims, were dismissed early last month for “asserting their right to reasonable accommodation for religious practices, including daily prayer.”
The organization said the firings violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employers from “discriminating against individuals because of their religion in hiring, firing and other terms and conditions of employment, and also requires employers to reasonably accommodate the religious practices of an employee, unless doing so would create an “undue hardship” for the employer.
According to WCPO:
On that night, the entire group of 24 stopped working and began silent prayer. That’s when they were fired and escorted off the property by deputies from the Boone County Sheriff’s Office, based on information from a report made by the Boone County Sheriff’s Office.
CAIR-Cincinnati Executive Director Karen Dabdoub said the workers were fired after they “asserted their legal rights.”
For its own part, DHL claims it felt the need to tighten up its formerly flexible break policy for the Somalis when other employees began complaining, claiming that the Muslims were being shown preferential treatment.
“DHL Global Mail denies any wrongdoing with respect to the allegations made by CAIR-Cincinnati and will fully defend itself in any action that may be filed against the company,” DHL said to WLWT News 5.
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