17 April 2009
from Labor Law Center Blog by Madison
Employers nationwide may have to grant workers additional breaks to Muslim employees for prayer, after a recent court ruling.
The EEOC recently announced that Judge Jeanne J.Graham of the U.S. District Court in St. Paul, Minnesota ordered final approval of two consent decrees in religious discrimination suits.
One suit involved a Minnesota chicken processor, Gold’n Plump Poultry, Inc. The other suit involved an employment agency that supplied workers for Gold’n Plump, The Work Connection.
Under the decree approved in the Gold’n Plump case, the employer will have to provide an additional paid break during the second half of each shift to accommodate the religious beliefs of Muslim employees who wish to pray during the workday. The exact timing of the break will vary during the year to coordinate with the timing for Muslim prayers. The new break time will apply to all employees who work in a designated portion of the plant, whether they are Muslim or not.