A lawsuit was filed by the Council on American-Islamic Relations on behalf of two Muslim workers against a Minnesota UPS branch after the employees were reportedly fired for needing to pray during the workday.
The lawsuit alleged the Atlanta-based company, as well as the Edina, Minnesota, staffing company Doherty Staffing Services, discriminated against several of its Muslim employees and violated the Minnesota Human Rights Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, KAAL reported.
The workers claimed in the suit that before June 2014, they were allowed to engage in daily prayer outside of their breaks and during work hours. When a new operations manager took over, that policy changed. The new manager reportedly asked employees in a meeting to raise their hands if they wanted to pray.
"After most Muslim employees raised their hands, (the operations manager) stated that he wanted to replace all of the employees who had raised their hands," the suit stated.
The employees claimed they were given one option if they wanted to pray during the day: They would have to leave and go home. They were also told that if they left, they would not be allowed to return.
"In general, most employees, when this happens, they just walk away," Amir Malik, an attorney for CAIR, told KAAL. "They don't complain, they don't know their rights, they're just trying to put food on the table, and companies feel they can get away with this. And we've seen multiple cases of this and it focuses a lot on low-skill jobs where they think that people don't know their rights and they can be abused."
UPS later issued a statement stating that they investigated and found no evidence to support the workers' claims:
Both UPS and Doherty Staffing Services, a company that employs and manages the workforce at the UPS Mail Innovations facility in Mendota Heights, thoroughly investigated and found no evidence to support these allegations. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission also found no cause for claims against UPS and dismissed the allegations.
Many readers criticized the workers for suing the company over their right to pray.
"Prayer for what?" one reader commented on the site's Facebook page. "Simply wanting to disrupt the system that works to keep America going. That is their only objective; if I had to pray 5 times a day for no results, I'd find a new religion that works with the system that provides life for my family. They'd rather sue the employer and have a liberal judge give them a life's pension."
"It would seem to me that employers would have a letter of understanding on the subject of breaks and the responsible of the employees to adhere the the rules of of the employer and have the applicants sign it as a condition of employment," another wrote.
"I guess maybe all Christians sometime are having a special problem in their life and might be at work and want to say a prayer," another added. "I always know I can pray wherever I am I can pray silently to God and He hears me. I don't have to go take a shower or be on my knees to pray. My God is not deaf or require a ritual before He will hear my prayer."