(WBAY) – Ariens Manufacturing changed its prayer-on-the-job policy Thursday, drawing pushback from dozens of Muslim employees who say they’re now out of a job.
Before this week, Somali Muslims employed by Ariens were allowed to leave the production line twice a shift to pray two of the five prayers their faith requires of them daily. They prayed five minutes at a time, designating their specific duties to colleagues.
A spokesperson for the Brillion-based equipment manufacturer said in a statement, in part:
We are asking employees to pray during scheduled breaks in designated prayer rooms. Our manufacturing environment does not allow for unscheduled breaks in production.”
According to law listed by the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission, “an employer does not have to accommodate an employee’s religious beliefs or practices if doing so would cause undue hardship to the employer… [such as] decreased efficiency” (read the law here).
It is both morally and economically beneficial for businesses to accommodate workers as much as possible. Especially when considering the limited labor pool in Brillion, it is clear that the company tried to make it work. But it didn’t. They do manufacturing, after all, and assembly lines to not facilitate people taking breaks like that without hurting production.
And now CAIR is getting involved to stir the pot. Expect accusations of Islamaphobia to follow shortly.