Thursday, November 13, 2008

Employee Religious Accommodation News

According to the Workplace Prof. Blog, the recent consent decrees preliminarily approved by a district court judge in Minnesota may be the first of their kind. The EEOC charges against Gold’n Plump Poultry, Inc.and The Work Connection regarding the rights of Muslim employees with respect to prayer breaks look like they will be settled!

The issue in question:
  • The religious discrimination prohibition found in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
The consent decrees requires that:
  • Gold'n Plump employees will receive an additional paid break, for one of the plant areas, during the 2nd half of each shift.
  • Break timings will fluctuate year round to accommodate prayer times.
  • Gold'n Plump will pay $215,000 to a group of Muslim employees "who may have been [improperly] disciplined or discharged when they took breaks to pray."
  • Gold'n Plump will pay $720,000 in attorneys' fees.
Additional good news:
  • The Work Connection, the employee placement service that referred workers to Gold'n Plump, will pay $150,000 to the class as a consequence of having asked potential workers to sign a form verifying they "would not refuse to handle pork" in the course of their work as well as for rejecting workers who refused to sign the form.
  • The Work Connection will discontinue it's use of the questionable form and will forward placement offers to those workers it had previously turned away.

Alhamdulillah for the courageous workers whose dedication to their faith brought us this fabulous example of good law!