Swift was offering to change break times for Muslim workers to accommodate the Ramadan fast — which offer caused resentment among non-Muslim workers who had to work longer periods without a break as a result. That in itself shows that as workplaces introduce “reasonable accommodation” of Sharia in order to please their Muslim workers, non-Muslims are often discommoded, creating tensions that we are going to see much more of in the months and years ahead.
In this case, the workers who have been fired are those Muslims who walked off their job in protest when Swift looked as if it wasn’t going to allow the Ramadan accommodation, and who didn’t return when asked. It’s a clear-cut case, but watch for lawsuits, and more concessions to Muslim groups coming from Swift, in the near future.
About 100 Muslim workers at the north Greeley JBS Swift & Co. plant were let go Wednesday afternoon.
About 15 Greeley police officers were called to the scene by a Swift security guard as part of the termination. The security guard told police one terminated Swift worker had tried to hit him.
No arrests were made. The worker was escorted off the premises and police remained on the scene for peace keeping purposes.
The workers appeared to be all African. The termination appears to be related to the walkout of Muslim employees on Friday. The workers left their jobs Friday night after they were told they would not be given a break to observe the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
Swift issued a statement via e-mail Friday evening about the terminations. The statement said the workers were let go as a result of the Ramadan-related work stoppage last week.
“For the past week, JBS management has met with union leadership and local Muslim leaders to address the timing of our second shift lunch break. As a result of those discussions we adjusted the lunch period by over one hour earlier to address their concerns. On Friday many employees walked off of the job without proper authorization,” the statement read.
According to the statement, this action resulted in a number of workers being suspended.
“A majority of the suspended employees returned to work last night and those that did not were notified this afternoon of their termination,” according to the statement….