In a recent post, Religious Discrimination & Prayer At Work: Employers Who Pray, we talked about employers who conduct prayer at the start of a business meeting. The EEOC recently announced that it endorses such conduct, at least insofar as it does not find pre-meeting prayer to be discriminatory per se. We wondered how many employers would be so bold as to follow this announcement after being counseled for so long that such an idea would be a sure-fire way to land in federal court sued for religious discrimination. I don’t have any developments to report from the employers but it appear that employees think the idea is ok–so long as they are the ones picking the religion.
In Minneapolis, Gold’n Plump Poultry, Inc. announced that, pursuant to the settlement of a class action lawsuit, it will allow Muslim workers to take short prayer breaks and to refuse to handle pork at the company’s poultry processing facilities. The lawsuit accused the Work Connection employment agency of requiring Muslim applicants to sign a “pork acknowledgment form,” in which they agreed to handle pork products. It was alleged in the complaint that Somali workers who did not sign the document were not hired.
Gold’n Plump explained that employees will now be provided a 10-minute break in the second half of the shift at a certain time and only in a portion of the plant. The employees had sought to be granted permission to leave the processing line when necessary to pray. All employees, regardless of religion, will be granted the break.