Reality Check: Prayer at work

Reality Check: Prayer at work

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Whether you are a devout Catholic or Jew, Mormon or Muslim, the tenets of your chosen religion may demand that you take time to pray during your given work day.

For Muslims, there are several requisite prayers, each based on the position of the sun in the sky including a prayer that begins near to sunset.

Last month 24 employees at DHL's Global Mail facility in Hebron were fired. They claim the sunset prayer cost them their jobs.

The Cincinnati Chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations has since filed a religious discrimination suit against DHL for refusing to accept a new workplace rule that violated their rights under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

Title VII guarantees a worker's right to practice religion, but according to a case tried just last month in U.S. District Court, when it comes to the practice of religion in the workplace the company and other employees have rights as well. The case involves 86 Muslims who were fired from a meat packing company for walking off the job. The walkout occurred after management denied Muslim employees the right to pray within 10 minutes of sunset and at the most 15 minutes after sunset.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission sued on behalf of the fired employees, claiming the company failed to reasonably accommodate its Muslim employees.

The EEOC lost the case; the court ruled that scheduling the evening break around the sunset prayer created quote: Greater than De Minimis Cost to JBS AND a Greater than De Minimis Burden on Coworkers.

 In conclusion, the court determined that JBS established its affirmative defense of undue hardship and a burden on non-Muslim employees.


As to exactly what happened at DHL, the company says it doesn't comment on pending litigation. But, if last month's court ruling reveals anything, it's that even in America, religious freedom in the workplace has its limits.

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