A U.S. District Court judge in Omaha has ruled in favor of a company accused of discriminating against Muslim workers.
The case involved the JBS Swift meat-packing company, now known as JBS USA, reported The Associated Press.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed two lawsuits against JBS USA in August 2010: one pertaining to the company’s headquarters in Greeley, Colorado, and one regarding its plant at Grand Island, Nebraska.
According to the EEOC, “JBS Swift created a hostile work environment for its Somali and Muslim employees due to their race, national origin, and religion,” and that “supervisors and coworkers threw blood, meat, and bones at the Muslim employees and called them offensive names.” The complaint also alleged that “supervisors and coworkers made comments to Somali employees at the Grand Island facility such as “lazy Somali” and “go back to your country.”
In its initial press release, the EEOC explained its case:
The two complaints include allegations that JBS Swift engaged in a pattern or practice of religious discrimination when it failed to reasonably accommodate its Muslim employees by refusing to allow them to pray according to their religious tenets. Both complaints further allege that JBS Swift retaliated against the employees by terminating their employment when they requested that their evening break be moved so that they could break their fast and pray at sundown during the month of Ramadan, an Islamic holiday requiring a daytime fast from sunup to sundown.
Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This litigation originated from the filing multiple charges of discrimination with the EEOC. During 2008, the EEOC received 83 discrimination charges from employees at the Greeley facility and 85 from employees at the Grand Isle facility alleging discrimination on the basis of religion, race, color or national origin.
About 25 percent of all religious discrimination claims filed with the EEOC are filed by Muslims, who make up less than 2 percent of the population, reports The New York Times.