CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - A Muslim civil rights group said Thursday it has filed federal complaints over the firing of 24 workers in a dispute over prayer breaks at a DHL Global Mail facility in Hebron, Kentucky.
The Cincinnati chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Cincinnati) said the employees were fired in October for asserting their right to reasonable accommodation for their religious practices, including daily prayer. The employees were using their break times for evening prayer.
"This particular prayer begins at sunset and goes for just a little more than an hour. After that, it's the next prayer time and you've missed it," said CAIR-Cincinnati Executive Director Karen Dabdoub.
The company changed it's flexible break policy and told the group other employees thought allowing prayer time amounted to favoritism.
"CAIR has informed the company of its obligation under the law to reasonably accommodate these workers' religious practices," said Dabdoub. "Instead of abiding by the law and doing the right thing, DHL has decided to stand behind their violation of these workers' civil rights."
A statement Thursday from DHL reads:
DHL Global Mail is an equal opportunity employer and takes seriously all complaints of harassment and discrimination, however we do not comment in detail on pending charges or litigation. Our policies provide equal employment opportunities to all employees and comply with all applicable federal, state and local laws governing nondiscrimination in employment.
DHL Global Mail ensures employees' religious practices are understood and, as reasonable, accommodated. The allegations presented by the CAIR - Cincinnati stating that employees were terminated for religious practices or that requests for accommodations were denied, are unfounded.
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.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employers from discriminating against individuals because of their religion in hiring, firing and other terms and conditions of employment.