columbus-dispatchBy JoAnne Viviano, the Columbus Dispatch

An advocacy group says 18 Muslims have filed federal complaints against a Westerville-based logistics company, saying they were fired for praying at work.

Exel Inc., a subsidiary of Deutsche Post DHL, is accused of denying requests to adjust break times to accommodate prayer or to allow employees to take unpaid prayer breaks, according to the Columbus chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. The council said it filed the complaints yesterday on behalf of the workers.

Practicing Muslims are obliged to pray five times daily at mandated times.

The workers, who are Somali, likely would have prayed twice during work hours for about 10 minutes each time, said Jennifer Nimer, legal director for the Ohio branch of the council.

The employees worked at a warehouse on the Northeast Side, and allowing them to adjust their two daily breaks to fit prayer times would not have caused the company undue hardship, Nimer said. She said previous managers had made modifications to the break schedule, but new supervisors refused to.

“They wouldn’t even discuss any type of accommodation. They said, ‘You pray at a scheduled break, and that’s it,'” Nimer said. “It’s not accommodating when they were aware the break times made them miss the prayer.” (Full article)

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