If a non-Muslim quit, or perhaps refused to bake a cake rather than “choose between fidelity to their religion and their job,” they’d lose their job and their business, not collect benefits. Obama would see to it.
Colorado’s labor department has ruled that more than 100 Muslim workers fired from a Fort Morgan meatpacking plant are eligible for unemployment benefits because a company cannot force workers to choose between their religion and their jobs.
The workers filed for unemployment payments after they were fired in December by Cargill Inc., amid a dispute over whether the Muslim employees could take prayer breaks during their shifts. Cargill challenged the claims, but the company withdrew its appeals this summer after losing 20 cases, officials with the state Department of Labor said.
While the labor department declined to put a dollar amount on the total paid to the workers, Cher Haavind, the agency’s director of government, policy and public relations, said the average maximum benefit per claim was $8,841.
That means the payments could cost Colorado’s unemployment fund nearly $1 million. Unemployment benefits are funded by the state’s employers. Much like an insurance policy, a company’s rates rise with the number of claims filed from its former workers.
Cargill’s spokesman, Michael Martin, said the company had no comment about the unemployment claims. Cargill, based in Wichita, Kan., is one of the largest privately held companies in the United States, and its family includes 14 billionaires, according to a 2001 report in Forbes magazine.
Cargill fired more than 150 Muslim workers, most of them from Somalia, in December after they walked off the job because of the dispute.
At the time, Martin told The Denver Post that the company did everything it could to resolve the dispute.
“At no time did Cargill prevent people from prayer at Fort Morgan,” Martin said in December. “Nor have we changed policies related to religious accommodation and attendance. This has been mischaracterized.”
However, decision orders written by Colorado labor department hearing officers show a change in policy is what led to the walk out.
Throughout the hearings, workers told a similar story about how supervisors began informing them on Dec. 15 that prayer breaks no longer were allowed, according to documents obtained by The Denver Post.
The workers, many of whom could not read or speak English, told hearing officers that interpreters had reviewed employment policies upon their hiring, including a “Political and Religious Workplace Expression Policy.”
The policy said that employees could pray as long as business needs were met, and they should request religious accommodations through their supervisors. The workers said they understood they could pray but would not always be able to go when they wanted.
In one case, a woman who had worked at the plant since February 2012 told a hearing officer that she had never been denied an opportunity for prayer until Dec. 15.
It was normal for the woman to wait a few minutes for the supervisor to make sure the line was sufficiently staffed before approving a prayer break for a group of three people. The woman would use her paid 15-minute break to pray, the decision order said.
“The claimant was satisfied with the prayer arrangement,” the order said.
However, the woman said she asked for a prayer break on Dec. 15, and her supervisor told her she would be allowed to go the bathroom, but that if she wanted to pray, she had to go home, the decision order said.
“There was no piece of paper or policy sheet issued to the employees saying that the prayer policy had changed,” the order said.
The Muslim workers said that their religion requires that they pray five times per day to stay in favor with God.
The hearing officers repeatedly ruled that the change in prayer policy was substantial to the working conditions and was not favorable to the workers. Therefore, the workers were not at fault for losing their jobs.
The decision orders repeatedly said: “No person should be expected to choose between fidelity to their religion and their job.”
After the workers were denied their prayers, leaders in Fort Morgan’s Somali community negotiated with the company for change. When the workers were told the company was standing by its new policy, they went home. After not reporting to work for three days, Cargill fired them.
The decision orders also revealed tension between the Somali workers and their representatives in the Teamsters union, which is led by Hispanic workers. The union did not fight for the Somalis, the orders said.
[Comments by terrorist group CAIR removed]
The attorneys have filed a complaint on behalf of the workers to the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Rachel Arnow-Richman, director of the workplace law program at the University of Denver’s Sturm College of Law, has been watching the Cargill case.
The state unemployment decision has no bearing on any federal religious discrimination lawsuit that later might be filed, Arnow-Richman said, because lawyers cannot use those results in their arguments in federal court.
However, Cargill’s attorneys should be concerned, she said. The labor department’s decision shows that a neutral party hearing the facts of the case was sympathetic toward the workers.
“Cargill is going to have to steel itself for a serious fight if it wants to continue the federal discrimination case,” Arnow-Richman said.
The labor department is far from neutral. They only interviewed the Somali Muslims who have legal teams the average American could never afford and have been coached to say whatever is necessary to get more money from the filthy kuffar.
Truthfully, it couldn’t happen to a better company. Cargill deserves all the agony and financial losses they get for choosing cheap, foreign Muslim labor over American workers. Cargill will fold like a cheap Muslim prayer rug and bow down to their Muslim masters as they have many times already.
Islam means submission, not peace.
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