About 150 Muslim workers at a Cargill Meat Solutions plant in Fort Morgan, Colo. Have been fired after failing to show up for work. The group of employees walked off the job for three days as part of a protest over a dispute between some Muslim employees and plant management over daily prayer rituals.
CNN reports that the problems began last month, when a group of 11 Muslin employees wanted to go pray at the same time in one of the rooms in the plant that is set aside for prayer and reflection. A supervisor asked for them to go in smaller groups to not affect production. The workers complied with the request, but 10 of them resigned at the end of the day. In protest, another 150 employees missed work for three consecutive days without giving notice, sais Cargill spokesman Mike Martin. Those employees were fired for violating the company’s attendence policy.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the Muslims workers who were fired after the prayer dispute said that accommodation requests were handled in a discriminatory manner by plant managers. The group claims that the plant’s prayer policies were changed, and that Muslim workers were told to “go home” if they wanted to pray. Cargill demies that any changes to the policy have been made.
The plant has two reflection rooms for all of its 2,100 employees to use for prayer. "There are times where we have to sequence how many people are allowed to go [to pray] so that production is not slowed down," Martin said.
The company said that the fired employees may be able to reapply for their old jobs, and that the company’s six-month waiting time to reapplying may be reduced.