Taking breaks at work can be challenging, especially when you work in a production line environment. So what do you do if you are Muslim and need to observe the five daily prayers while on the job? Recent news has highlighted instances where Muslim employees faced tensions from their employer when trying to fit prayer into their work day, feared discrimination or even left a job that would not accommodate their prayer times. Here are rights you have under federal law, specifically Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
This month, more than 50 Muslim employees at a Wisconsin company were shocked to discover that they would no longer be allowed to take two five-minute breaks to pray during the work day. Even worse, some of the employees were fired for continuing to pray at set times of day instead of waiting until a company-scheduled break.
The workplace can be a very diverse atmosphere, filled with employees of different races, cultures, religions and ages. Despite this being a naturally occurring and beneficial characteristic in the work environment, some employees in Minnesota and other states across the nation experience mistreatment, harassment or discrimination because of their differences. When employment discrimination occurs, it is important that employees understand how to speak out about their experience or the experience of others in order to protect their civil rights.
Minnesota and federal laws protect workers against racial discrimination and religious discrimination at work. When workers are fired, not hired, denied promotions or suffer other negative employment action because of prohibited discrimination, they can file claims against the employer. However, proving discrimination requires evidence and it can be hard to get solid evidence in many cases.