Event addresses issues of religious accommodation in the workplace
(ST. PAUL, MN, 8/6/10) — On Wednesday, August 4, the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MN) hosted its second annual “Positive Interactions” employer workshop to address issues of religious accommodation in the workplace.
Almost 20 managers from Twin Cities metro-area companies attended the workshop to better understand the legal obligations of religious accommodation and to learn about customs and practices of Muslim employees.
“With Ramadan starting next week, this was an opportunity for employers to understand the religious obligations and legal rights of their Muslim employees and the legal duties they have as employers,” said CAIR-MN Civil Rights Director Taneeza Islam. “Our goal is to avoid any problems that may arise due to misunderstandings about Islam or religious accommodation laws. We appreciate the companies who are taking these proactive steps to better understand their employees.”
Ms. Islam said Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects employees from discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, and national origin.
In July 2010, CAIR-MN assisted St. Cloud Muslim employees at appliance manufacturer Electrolux in filing an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
(EEOC) complaint against the company after the company threatened employees with termination if they were caught breaking their Ramadan fast on the production floor.
SEE: CAIR Calls on Electrolux to Make Ramadan Accommodations (St. Cloud Times)
That complaint is currently being mediated by the EEOC in hopes that a resolution will be reached before Ramadan.
Ramadan, which will begin on or about August 11, is the month on the Islamic lunar calendar during which Muslims abstain from food, drink and other sensual pleasures from break of dawn to sunset. Muslims break the fast each day with food and drink immediately after sunset.
CAIR offers a booklet, called “An Employer’s Guide to Islamic Religious Practices,” to help employers gain a better understanding of Islam and Muslims in the workplace.
CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties group. 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.
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CONTACT: CAIR-MN Civil Rights Director Taneeza Islam, Esq., 651-587-4712, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR-MN Civil Rights Coordinator Zahra Aljabri, Esq., 651-645-7102, E-Mail: email@example.com; CAIR-MN President Lori Saroya, 612-327-6700, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787 or 202-744-7726, E-Mail: email@example.com