A Fort Morgan meatpacking plant and the employee union that represented its workers violated Muslim workers’ civil rights in a dispute over prayer breaks, a federal agency that enforces U.S. anti-discrimination laws in the workplace has determined.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission invited Cargill Meatpacking Solutions and Teamsters Local No. 455 to participate in mediation to resolve the discrimination complaint, according to a copy of an Aug. 3 letter signed by Elizabeth Cadle, district director of the EEOC’s Denver office. A resolution could involve paying the workers lost wages, restoring their benefits, returning them to their jobs, and awarding the workers money to punish the company and the union.
The EEOC ruled in favor of 130 employees who filed complaints against Cargill and in favor of 20 workers who filed complaints against the Teamsters, said Qusair Mohamedbhai, who represented the Somali workers.
The EEOC determined there was “reasonable cause” that Cargill had discriminated against the workers because they were black, immigrated from Somalia and practiced Islam.
The letters said Cargill had subjected the Muslim employees “to a hostile work environment based on their religion, race and national origin, including making disparaging racial, ethnic and religious comments and by requiring them to choose between their religion and work.”
The Teamsters failed to fairly represent the workers “by historically failing to pursue grievances on their behalf relating to religious accommodation and by failing to intercede, advocate for or represent” black, Somali and Muslim employees, the letter addressed to Local No. 455 said.
click here to read more.