A group of Muslim workers allege they were fired by a New Brighton tortilla factory for refusing to wear uniforms that they say were immodest by Islamic standards.
Six Somali women claim they were ordered by a manager to wear pants and shirts to work instead of their traditional Islamic clothing of loose-fitting skirts and scarves, according to the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a civil liberties group that is representing the women.
The women have filed a religious discrimination complaint with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
"For these women, wearing tight-fitting pants is like being naked," said Valerie Shirley, a spokeswoman for the Minnesota chapter of CAIR. "It's simply not an option."
CAIR issued a press release calling on Mission Foods to reinstate the women in their jobs. However, the group declined to disclose the names of the women and would not make them available for interviews Tuesday.
Gruma Corp., the Irving, Texas-based parent company of Mission Foods, released a written statement Tuesday denying that any employees were terminated or disciplined at the New Brighton plant. However, the company made clear the six women have been relieved of their responsibilities for the time being, and may ultimately lose their jobs if they don't wear uniforms.