Wisconsin Muslims Quit Manufacturing Job After Company Changes Prayer Policy

Mosque Credit M Hussain-compressedBRILLION, Wisc. — Dozens of Muslims in Wisconsin are reportedly now out of a job after officials at a lawn mower and snow blower manufacturing company changed its prayer policy to disallow prayer breaks other than at meals.

Ariens had previously allowed workers to walk away from the production line twice during a shift to offer up two of the five prayers that they are required to pray each day at specific times according to the Islamic religion. A co-worker could fill in for them during the five minutes that they were gone.

However, Ariens recently changed its policy to require employees to stay on the production line at all times, except for during their lunch break.

“We are asking employees to pray during scheduled breaks in our designated prayer rooms,” it said in a memo. “Our manufacturing environment does not allow for unscheduled breaks in production.”

Muslims state that the new policy violates their faith because now they will not be able to pray at the specific times required in Islam.

“If someone tells you, ‘You pray on your break,’ and the break time is not the prayer time, it will be impossible to pray,” Green Bay Masjid Imam Hasan Abdi explained to local television station WNCN.

“So they say, ‘If you don’t pray at the break time,’ they give us this [unemployment] paper to just leave,” former employee Ibrahim Mehemmed also told the outlet.

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Over 50 Ariens employees were affected by the decision, and according to reports, 10 so far have opted to stay and comply with the new rules.

“We are open to any of the employees returning to work under the new policy or will look for openings in shifts that do not coincide with prayer time,” President Dan Ariens said in a statement. “We respect their faith, and we respect their decision regardless of their choice to return to work or not.”

He said that the company has sought to understand Muslim practices and has not fired anyone over issue.

“Our staff is committed to providing a great place to work for all employees and have met with members of our Somalian employee group to better understand their needs. We consulted with local representatives who are of Muslim faith to help provide sustainable solutions,” Ariens said. “We want to be clear that no one was terminated here.”

The federal Equal Opportunity Commission outlines that “an employer does not have to accommodate an employee’s religious beliefs or practices if doing so would cause undue hardship to the employer,” resulting in “decreased efficiency” on the job.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is asking Ariens to allow employees to continue to leave the production line during the prayer times while a solution is reached.

“These types of accommodation disputes can be resolved in a spirit of respect for constitutionally-protected religious rights and for the legitimate needs of both employees and employers,” spokesman Ibrahim Hooper said in a press release.

Last month, 150 Muslims were fired from the Cargill meat plan in Colorado after they protested officials who made a similar decision to ban employees from leaving the production line. After not showing up for work for three days straight, they were terminated.


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  • PhilLC

    Islam makes allowances for its faithful to catch-up on their ‘lost’ prayers. This is all profiling; I’ve done business in Moslem countries and only once and only one person disappeared from a meeting and I was told he had gone to pray…’strange’ that its somehow such an issue in the USA when in their own countries only a small minority adheres. Its a CAIR agenda if anything…

    • Ruth Davis

      I agree . They didn’t come to work to pray , they came to work . I have a friend that told me once that , they will make demands on others but they will not do it in the middle east .

    • Josey

      you’re probably right there except if it is CAIR then they sure got a lot of Muslims complaining and in on this farce.

  • bowie1

    He must think that prayer at specific times has some kind of extra power as opposed to praying any convenient time which Christians do. We are told to pray without ceasing which means that we pray in our mind while carrying on our daily tasks.

    • kirby76

      Yeah, well, they’re not Christians, so your rules aren’t really relevant.

      • Josey

        oh no, that’s because they think they are special people and others on the production line can take up the slack they leave as they demand their special privileges, don’t think so…ha!

        • kirby76

          If the prayer times place a burden on business operations or other employees the company has a right to restrict them. Maybe the best solution would be to look for a compromise of some kind. I just meant that bowie1’s comment was kind of off-the-mark. If he thinks his religious beliefs are better than someone else’s, fine; but it has nothing to do with whether the policy is fair.

          And Muslims aren’t the only ones who ask for religious accommodations. Most of the time it’s Christians.

          • bowie1

            My point is that we Christians can pray at any time so we need not burden the employer. It could be during the breaks that the company sets when we are off the clock, at least for lunchtime. Most of the time it is at supper time with my wife and we read from the bible and pray then. When I worked for a Muslim employer I really never saw them pray but perhaps it was done in an office that was off limits to we employees. The woman secretary who was family of the bosses also did not wear a burqa but just modestly dressed in a ankle length dress. This was way back in the late 1970’s.

        • acontraryview

          So then you would be against Jewish employees asking for accommodation to not work on Saturday, and Christian employees asking for accommodation to not work on Sunday, because “they think they are special people and others on the production line can take up the slack when they leave as they demand their special privileges”, yes?

          • Josey

            Yes I would be if they accepted the job with full knowledge that they might be required to work on Saturday as a Jewish person or Sunday as a Christian. I worked a many of Sundays knowing it was contingent on my accepting the job, I would have loved to have had every Sunday off but such was not the case and I knew that when I accepted the job just as I know my faith in Christ Jesus is greater that whether I worked on a given Sunday, I never stop fellow shipping with Him regardless of what day it is. The employer who interviews prospective interviewees for a job has the authority to say you may be required to work on Sundays, Saturdays, and to say when breaks are given and for how long, you then can decide if this is going to work for you, You don’t accept the job based on knowing these things before hand and then later decide I’ll demand to leave the production line for prayer and let the other workers take up my slack, you get fired and rightly so, people have no work ethics anymore or very few do and I thank God for those who do have work ethics, God bless them abundantly, mainly the influx of illegal aliens or refugees (whatever you want to call them who aren’t willing to accept our American values) and this younger generation who gets everything handed to them to their own eternal detriment. I knew a pastor who needed a side job to offset some costs he had incurred, he testified that when he went to the interview he was told up front that he might have to work some Sundays in which he turned down the job because that was right for him in that he needed Sundays off, he didn’t sue or demand special accommodations for himself or become bitter about it, he went on his way and God blessed him with a job more suited to him.
            Jeremiah 17:7 Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is.

          • acontraryview

            “Yes I would be if they accepted the job with full knowledge that they might be required to work on Saturday as a Jewish person or Sunday as a Christian.”

            Your knowledge of workplace laws is lacking. During an interview when the employer provides the schedule and asks if the applicant is able to work the schedule, the applicant can ask for religious accommodation. If providing a schedule that accommodates the applicant’s religious obligations would not prove to be an undue burden on the employer, the employer is required to provide the accommodation – regardless of the religion.

            “I knew a pastor who needed a side job to offset some costs he had incurred, he testified that when he went to the interview he was told up front that he might have to work some Sundays in which he turned down the job because that was right for him in that he needed Sundays off, he didn’t sue or demand special accommodations for himself”

            “I need Sunday’s off because I have another job” is not a religious accommodation.

          • Josey

            His other job was his pastor duties on Sunday. And an employer giving an interview to a person who says they want to set their own schedule based on religion or whatever reason will not get hired, that application would go into the trash.

          • acontraryview

            “His other job was his pastor duties on Sunday.”

            Yes, so you said. Other employment is not a “religious accommodation”.

            “who says they want to set their own schedule based on religion”

            I never said anything about an applicant saying they want to “set their own schedule”. When you make up stuff like that, does it concern you how God will judge you? Your lying was certainly willful.

            Employment law requires that employers provide accommodation for religious belief provided that providing that accommodation does not involve an undue burden. I have employees who are devout in their Christian beliefs. The company adjusts work schedules to ensure that they are provided the opportunity to attend services on Sunday. If I failed to do so, without being able to prove that doing so would be an undue burden, I would be in violation of employment law. I don’t do it because of the law, however. I do it because I believe it is the right thing to do and it results in greater employee satisfaction and productivity.

            “that application would go into the trash.”

            You are certainly free to place such a low value on the importance of employee’s religious beliefs and having no desire to accommodate them in any way. Hopefully no one will have to face an employer as callous and cold as you.

    • acontraryview

      This may come as a surprise to you, bowie, but different religions have different beliefs regarding prayer. I know…I know….if it’s good enough for Christians, then it should be good enough for everyone else…but that’s not how it works here in the US.

      • dawnrosanne

        Is the Muslim god so weak and so busy, that he can’t be bothered to hear the prayers of his faithful followers at any time? Why is their god like that? I don’t think I’d want to pray to a god that said he could only hear me at 7 am, 12 pm, 2 pm and 6 pm. Kinda weird if you ask me.

        • acontraryview

          Your comment shows that you have a lack of understanding regarding prayer times in the Muslim faith. It is not that they believe God can ONLY hear them at those times. Anymore than Christians believe Sunday is the ONLY day that God wants them to worship together.

          That you would choose to comment on something you clearly do not understand is “kinda weird if you ask me”.

  • milwaukeegregg

    20 years ago they would not be hired in the first place! The good old days!!

    • Ambulance Chaser

      If someone refused to hire Muslims in 1996, they would have been in violation of the Civil Rights Act, which has been on the books since 1964.

      • Josey

        yes but they are given a list of duties they are required to follow or they get fired, plain and simple as that, that is the duties given to anyone hired to do a job they accept and if they veer from those duties as if they are more special that the others who follow their duties, then adios amigo, go find other employment and don’t lie at your interview claiming you will follow said duties only to later demand special treatment!

        • Ambulance Chaser

          Okay, but none of what you just said is relevant.

          • afchief

            It sure is relevant!

    • gizmo23

      I guess all this started when they allowed blacks folks to work real jobs?

      • milwaukeegregg

        callow!

        • gizmo23

          You were the one implying it is OK to deny jobs because of faith

          • Josey

            I didn’t hear him say anything about denying jobs because of their faith, the issues is they want to take breaks at the expense of other workers who would have to keep the line going, production need not stop because they demand their prayer breaks which are nothing more than senseless repetitive prayers in the first place, they were hired to work a production line, not stop and roll out their prayer rugs and chant their repetitive prayers which if they really knew and served the True God whose power is unlimited they would understand they can converse with Him while they work.

          • Ambulance Chaser

            “I didn’t hear him say anything about denying jobs because of their faith,”

            Um, that’s actually EXACTLY what he said.

          • gizmo23

            That is not even the subject here

          • milwaukeegregg

            This is America! What part of that don’t you get? Your a problem, and always have been. That why you choose positions on issues that evoke these type of responses.Assimilate or get the -uck out of dodge. As an employer why should I give a shit about prayer time. You on the other hand are the racist baiting buffoon, trolling for a fight. Given an enema you could be buried in a matchbox…

          • afchief

            He is a paid liberal troll that goes to Christian websites. He is on Charisma also.

          • gizmo23

            So true I get paid by the number of responses I get

          • acontraryview

            “As an employer why should I give a s*it about prayer time.”

            You got that right. The last thing an employer should give a s*it about is regulations and laws governing business. Riiiiiiiidulous!

      • kirby76

        Bazinga!

      • Josey

        Another ridiculous statement! Blacks should take offense at your implication for race has nothing to do with needing five breaks a day to bow down on a prayer rug while the rest of the workers including blacks take up the slack.

      • afchief

        Another stupid statement!

  • the barracudaa

    Praying was invented for the soul purpose of goofing off. God aint listening. If people can drive cars while they talk on a cell phone, they can certainly pray and work at the same time.

    • bowie1

      In Canada you would not be allowed to talk on the cell phone while driving – called distracted driving.

      • the barracudaa

        Maybe in Canada, the mussies could pray while sitting on the toilet. Point is, there’s no reason to stop working to pray. Before work, break times and lunch time should be enough. I wonder how many times they wake up in the middle of the night to pray?

    • dawnrosanne

      God listens to our prayers, whenever we pray, whether it’s in the car or at work. You should try it sometime. 🙂

      • the barracudaa

        Prove it.

  • http://www.bing.com/ Martin Smit

    A 24 hour establishment has plenty of shifts that don’t coincide with muslim prayer time. They can work all night, and then wake up during the day for their exercises.

  • Unionville

    Private company. Their rules.

    • Ambulance Chaser

      The Civil Rights Act says otherwise.

      • D.M.S.

        Does equality come in there somewhere?

        • kirby76

          What “comes in there” is the concept of “undue burden”. If the company can show that the prayer times caused a loss efficiency, unfair impositions on other workers, etc, and there was no way to work around that, they would and should win if a lawsuit were filed. If they can’t show they were suffering that burden, they should have allowed the prayer times.

          • D.M.S.

            If anyone is getting breaks to pray, then all the employees should also get some type of compensation.

          • acontraryview

            Why?

          • D.M.S.

            Equality.

          • acontraryview

            You would benefit from a better understanding of workplace accommodation laws.

          • Angel Jabbins

            You are right. I was just thinking about the non-Muslim employees who have to take up the slack while the others are off praying on their extra break times. It is far to them? Of course! Common sense, isn’t it?

      • Josey

        Really? does it now? So we can all just claim I need prayer time and production can just go down the tube, ridiculous and you would claim that.

        • Ambulance Chaser

          I said nothing of the sort and you know it.

      • Angel Jabbins

        “The federal Equal Opportunity Commission outlines that “an employer does not have to accommodate an employee’s religious beliefs or practices if doing so would cause undue hardship to the employer,” resulting in “decreased efficiency” on the job.”

        If the company can prove the extra prayer breaks were inferring with their production and costing them, then they are not in violation of the Civil Rights Act. The company was providing the employee breaks required by law and even provided these Muslim employees a special ‘prayer room’. Seems pretty Civil Right conscious to me. Do they value having a job or not? Christians often have to work on Sundays and Jews on Saturdays. Maybe they could honor God more by being good, productive employees. If they can be given extra time off to pray on the job, then Christians and Jews should be filing lawsuits because they are required to work on their days of worship which are days of prayer…right? But…that isn’t happening.

        • Ambulance Chaser

          “The federal Equal Opportunity Commission outlines that “an employer does not have to accommodate an employee’s religious beliefs or practices if doing so would cause undue hardship to the employer,” resulting in “decreased efficiency” on the job.”

          Right. It does not say that an employer can make whatever rules it wishes because it’s their company.

          • afchief

            What? And you call yourself a lawyer?!?!?!?

        • acontraryview

          “Christians often have to work on Sundays and Jews on Saturdays. Maybe they could honor God more by being good, productive employees. If they can be given extra time off to pray on the job, then Christians and Jews should be filing lawsuits because they are required to work on their days of worship which are days of prayer…right? ”

          And they have. As you stated, a business is required to provide accommodations for religious belief less doing so “would cause an undue hardship to the employer”. The rules apply to all religious beliefs.

      • Lacunaria

        I think she was speaking morally rather than legally.

    • afchief

      You are exactly right!!!

    • RathdrumGal

      Oh Unionville, if only that were true! Private companies, and the people that own them, have lost their rights decades ago to set the rules for their company. If you refuse the hire certain people, you can be sued for discrimination….. if you fire certain people, you can be sued for discrimination, …..if you are a landlord and refuse to rent to certain people, you can be sued for discrimination. The person claiming discrimination can get a government paid lawyer to take their case, the company has to pay their own legal fees. As a business owner, you have to watch your step very carefully, because if a suit is brought against you it will suck up time and resources, even if the suit is found without basis.

      • Josey

        Matthew 10:16 Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. Wisdom, wisdom and wisdom, ask God for wisdom and use it in your businesses.

  • Guest

    This isn’t about prayer. There are some Muslim groups that use prayer to disrupt production and business. I know one business owner who had Muslims, after months of working well, run into his lobby and decide to take it over during crucial business times, because it “faced Mecca best”.

  • Josey

    I am so thankful that a relationship with Jesus doesn’t mean I have to leave a production line to converse with Him, I can talk to Him anytime and anywhere at anytime, it is called communion of in our hearts. He knows my heart and hears my prayers all the time and they are sincere prayers, not some self righteous religious act done out of a habit that makes me falsely assume I’ve done some duty, He desires honesty and obedience more than a religious rite. This is not what a true relationship with Christ is about. Yes, there are times when I need to be alone with him w/out distractions in my prayer closet as I wait upon Him but He hears my prayers and I can quietly converse with Him while I work too, Praise His Holy Name! God is not a taskmaster demanding I shirk my work duties to bow down on a prayer rug five times a day saying repetitive words or chants and leave others to do my work for me. God is a great and mighty God who desires honesty when I talk to Him and no one goes to the Father without going through Christ first. They should be fired, either get right with God through Christ or don’t come in to demand they get their prayer breaks, that is not what they are getting paid for!

    • the barracudaa

      Takes a tremendous amount of nerve to be calling any other religion “self righteous”. Just remember, there’s some 4000 different religions, so statistically they not only can’t all be right, but statistically, they are most likely all wrong. Get right with God through Christ? That cracks me up.

      • Josey

        Jesus Christ is the Truth, the Life and the Only Way to the Father! God made sure there would be no confusion in that, but those other 4,000 or so different made up religions are nothing but lies and distractions from the pit of hell.

        • the barracudaa

          Nerve and psychosis too. “God made sure there was no confusion”? Now that’s hysterical. If God doesn’t have the brains or power to do away with the wrong religions, which make up 3/4 of humanity, then God needs a reality check, just like you do. What a nut job.

          • Josey

            God does not take away choice, He presents the truth but it’s up to the people to choose Him or not as He gives the consequences of the choices as well. I don’t expect someone to understand the Bible or God’s ways if they are not born again, I once fell into that category myself but the moment He revealed Himself to me that He lives and convicted me of the sins in my life, the willful rebellion I was living in and I chose to repent and believe and receive Christ, I began to understand. When God comes convicts and opens your eyes to the truth, then you are presented with a choice that has eternal consequences. And I guess God doesn’t see the need to do away with the false religions of the world that satan created to deceive but maybe God expects us to search Him out and search these other religions for they will be exposed as lies as you search the inconsistencies in them. God’s word from Genesis thru Revelation is consistent and does not contradict itself. Only when people take scriptures out of context and twist His word is there contradictions that they themselves make on their own.

          • the barracudaa

            What a brainwashed kook. Simple minded people like you are the perfect candidate for religious mind control. You should try to get yourself de-programed. You’re worse than the Muslims.

          • Josey

            well, you know what I’d rather be called simple minded than a fool who doesn’t believe in God. Salvation that the Almighty has provided is so simple that a child can obtain it and understand it for children have faith to believe and my faith in Christ can never be removed. I didn’t grow up in a Christian home and wasn’t programmed in any way. I was as rebellious as they come and did and saw things that I shudder to think about now but God through the precious Holy Spirit revealed Himself to me in my home while I was alone, there was no preacher, there was only me, my two babies who were born out of wedlock and God the Holy Spirit who showed me the truth and showed me there was more to life than what I had been living and because I accepted Christ for the remission of my many sins, I was born anew, changed from night to day and He is completing that work He began in me 30 yrs ago, I am not perfect as Christ is but am a work in progress but one day I’ll see Him as He is and be transformed and be made perfect, Christ Jesus is all I need so if that is considered simple minded by this worlds standard, I’ll take it. I pray that God reveals Himself to you as He did for me and that you become a testimony for Him as well, I know from God’s word and from experience that there is nothing too hard for Him and nothing impossible with Him, thks for responding for you are now on my prayer list.

          • the barracudaa

            You really are a nut if you think I’m taking the time to read your long winded blah, blah, blah. Get real, nutbag.

          • Josey

            Good, then move on, you seem to take the time to stalk this site so that says something.

          • the barracudaa

            Your pulpit spew is getting old. Muslims and Christians are just alike. Too much praying, not enough tolerance.

          • Josey

            well you must be reading them but I won’t stop posting as I feel led, you could go to another site that is more fitted to your rants.

          • the barracudaa

            At least you don’t deny your religious intolerance. Even the Muslims have a little bit of tolerance for other religions.

          • Josey

            What exactly would you have me be tolerant of, sin? Mocking God’s word? Not speaking out as I feel led to? Speaking the truth? I think your following the crowd and being a pleaser of people is enough tolerance for all, imo. Matthew 7:13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the road is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who go through it.

          • the barracudaa

            Troll on nutbag.

  • ice

    The only thing I wonder about with both this plant and the meat is that the companies changed the rules. In one article about the plant in Wisconsin a worker said they had been working the old way for many years; but the company is trying to appease the Muslim workers. I worked with Muslims who took their break and prayer time together; but if there was an emergency they could be counted on to help (this was doing mall security).

  • acontraryview

    If the employer is able to prove that accommodating the religious requests of the employees would cause an “undue hardship” then they will prevail.

  • dawnrosanne

    One of the Muslims said that if he can’t pray at a specific time, “it is impossible to pray.” I don’t get that. Is the Muslim god so weak or so hurried, that he can’t be bothered at any time to hear the prayers of his followers?

    • NiteClerk

      The muslim god only listens to prayers said at the correct time in your time zone. So if you’re an hour late in praying then their god is listening to people in the next time zone over.

  • Ablemom

    Sure am glad I’m a Christian and can pray unceasingly, even while working.

  • Ablemom

    I am even more glad that I’m a Roman Catholic, so privileged by God’s great mercy that I live where I can go to mass almost any day of the week if I do have to miss an obligatory Sunday or Holy Day mass, due to illness or work.