November 2018 Church & State - November 2018

Colorado Firm Didn’t Violate Muslim Rights, Court Says

  Rob Boston

A Colorado meat-packing company’s policies don’t violate the religious rights of Muslim employees, a federal court has ruled.

JBS Swift & Co., based in Greeley, Colo., was sued by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) after Muslim workers claimed discrimination.

“Religion Clause,” a blog that covers religious-freedom cases, reported that the Muslim employees asserted that the firm had “refused to reasonably accommodate Muslim employees’ needs during Ramadan to pray and break their fast; that employees were disciplined on the basis of religion, national origin and race; and that JBS retaliated against a group of black, Muslim, Somali employees for opposing discrimination during Ramadan.”

U.S. District Judge Philip A. Brimmer ruled that while the EEOC was able to show instances of employees being given warnings for taking unauthorized breaks for prayer, none of them were suspended or terminated.

“Therefore, lacking evidence that any employee suffered a detriment to ‘compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual’s … religion’ in relation to discipline imposed for unscheduled prayer breaks, the Court concludes that the EEOC has failed to prove its claim that JBS’s policy constituted an unlawful pattern or practice of discrimination,” wrote Brimmer. (EEOC v. JBS, USA)

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