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CAIR Files Federal Lawsuit Against Ariens Company on Behalf of Somali Muslim Workers

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 12/6/2017) — The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today announced the filing of a federal lawsuit against Wisconsin-based Ariens Company on behalf of 19 Somali Muslim workers for the wrongful revocation of a religious accommodation policy that permitted them to take short breaks to perform their obligatory prayers in accordance with their sincerely-held beliefs. 


The lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin.

Prior to the revocation of the religious accommodation policy, Ariens Company’s Somali Muslim workers were permitted to take short breaks to perform their obligatory prayers that were akin to breaks taken by all employees for nonreligious purposes, including, but not limited to using the restroom, smoking, making a phone call or purchasing a snack.

Immediately after revoking the religious accommodation policy, the plaintiffs were either coerced to resign their employment or had their employment terminated after making requests to take a short break to perform their obligatory prayers.

SEE: CAIR Calls on Wisconsin Firm Ariens to Allow Prayers Pending Resolution of Accommodation Issue

“Ariens Company willfully and maliciously discriminated against its Somali Muslim workforce not only by revoking a reasonable religious accommodation that was in place — knowing that its Somali Muslim workers would be placed on track for eventual termination — but it engaged in systematic bullying tactics by harassing and threatening them in an attempt to coerce them to resign voluntarily,” said CAIR National Litigation Director Lena Masri. 

“By revoking the religious accommodation that was in place, Ariens Company unlawfully forced its Somali workers to choose between their faith and their employment,” said CAIR-MN Executive Director Jaylani Hussein.

CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

La misión de CAIR es mejorar la comprensión del Islam, fomentar el diálogo, proteger las libertades civiles, capacitar a los musulmanes estadounidenses, y construir coaliciones que promuevan la justicia y la comprensión mutua.

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CONTACT: CAIR Litigation Director Lena Masri, (202) 742-6420,; CAIR Senior Litigation Attorney Gadeir Abbas, (720) 251-0425,; CAIR-MN Executive Director Jaylani Hussein, (612) 206-3360,; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726,


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