150 Muslims were shocked by the response they got from their employer when they walked out on the job because they say their religious beliefs weren’t accommodated enough.
More from Denver ABC 7:
Nearly 150 Somali refugees say they hope to get their jobs back after they were fired from the Cargill Beef Plant in Fort Morgan after many of them left their posts following a dispute over workplace prayer.
Company officials said the employees were terminated for attendance policy violations.
“The majority of them did not show up, or call, for three consecutive days,” said Michael Martin, Director of Communications for Cargill, Inc.
Several of the fired employees told Denver7 that Cargill won’t allow them to pray when they need to. “It’s compulsory to pray,” said Said Ahmed. “That’s our religion.”
Most of the Somali refugees are Muslims who work the afternoon shift at the plant on East Burlington Avenue. “We have to pray at sunset,” said Mohamud Hassan. “Sunset changes in the winter.”
Hassan added the company would only let a handful of employees pray at sunset.
But Martin said Cargill has made religious accommodation for its employees, and it can’t accommodate all their wishes.
“In 2009, we established reflection areas for all employees to use, regardless of faith,” he said.
He also said that employees work on a production line. “It’s a disassembly line. A large number of employees are standing at stainless steel tables.”
Martin told Denver7 that the company allows some of those employees to leave the production line for breaks, but can’t allow a large number to leave, or it would disrupt work production.
“They had to rotate two or three at a time,” he said.
Martin added there was a misunderstanding during the second shift on December 18. He said 11 people from one specific table all asked to pray at the same time. When they were told they couldn’t all go at once, ten resigned.
I’m shocked and surprised to see an American company NOT cave in to demands from a minority grievance group!! It really appears that they didn’t do anything wrong here, and I hope they’re not punished for it.