Religion

Whole Foods Accused of Harassing Muslim Employee, Who Had to Pray Near Dumpster

| by Michael Allen

24-year-old Glenn Mack is suing Whole Foods, his former employer, alleging that he was harassed and ultimately terminated because of his Islamic faith. Supervisors allegedly turned on him when they learned he was making the traditional Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca. Mack says that he had to resort to praying by the dumpsters outside the store.

Mack told Philly.com that he had been well-respected at the Whole Foods store in Philadelphia. He requested time for the vacation months in advance of the November 2010 trip to Mecca and received approval. But shortly before leaving, Mack claims that his supervisors gave him a choice of keeping his job or going on the trip.

After Mack took his vacation, he was downgraded from full-time to seasonal status, although he was later returned to full-time status. He was reportedly heckled by supervisors, who would follow him on his breaks to a back corner of the supply room where he typically went to pray. For privacy, Mack said he resorted to praying outside next to a dumpster.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is representing Mack, and has filed a complaint with the U.S. Equal Opportunity Employment Commission. CAIR-Philadelphia Civil Rights Director Amara Chaudhry said: "We hope that a company eager to take the money of Muslim shoppers would also be similarly welcoming of Muslim employees."