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Celestica Fires, Suspends More Minnesota Muslims

In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CELESTICA FIRES, SUSPENDS MORE MINNESOTA MUSLIMS
CAIR seeks intervention of state attorney general

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 11/11/05) – A prominent national Islamic civil rights and advocacy group said today that Canada-based electronics manufacturer Celestica Inc. has allegedly fired or suspended 16 more Muslim workers at its Minnesota facility over issues related to workplace religious accommodation.

Muslim workers at Celestica’s Arden Hill plant tell the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) that nine employees and contract workers have been suspended and seven others have been fired in a dispute over shifting a lunch-break during the recently-concluded Islamic fast of Ramadan. The employees say they were let go for taking an “unauthorized break” at sunset, even though they say they had requested to move their lunch break to that time. (Muslims fast from break-of-dawn to sunset during the month of Ramadan.) SEE: http://www.celestica.com/contact/

CAIR sent a letter today to Minnesota Attorney General Mike Hatch asking that he intervene in the case to uphold Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which requires an employer to accommodate an individual’s religious practices.

“Celestica needs to seriously address issues related to religious accommodation in the workplace to prevent these types of incidents from occurring,” said CAIR Legal Director Arsalan Iftikhar.

A Celestica spokesperson in Minnesota told CAIR the company has made a number of accommodations for Muslim workers. She said the suspended employees were offered an opportunity to return to work.

“Unfortunately, there is a disconnect between what Celestica is telling us about the accommodations that have been made and what we are hearing from Muslim employees,” said Iftikhar.

At a CAIR news conference in July, Muslim workers said Celestica terminated or suspended 15 employees and threatened others with disciplinary action because of their requests to perform religiously-mandated prayers in the workplace.

SEE: “MN Muslims Say Celestica Doesn’t Allow Prayer”
http://www.cair-net.org/default.asp?Page=articleView&id=37122&theType=NB

SEE ALSO: “CAIR, Minn. Muslims to Call for Celestica Prayer Accommodation”
http://www.cair-net.org/default.asp?Page=articleView&id=1642&theType=NR

The Washington-based council filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) over the previous denial of religious accommodation by Celestica. CAIR has successfully resolved similar prayer disputes at facilities owned by Dell Inc. and Solectron Corporation.

CAIR, America’s largest Muslim civil liberties group, has 31 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. 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.

To read CAIR’s Mission, Vision Statement and Core Principles, go to: http://www.cair-net.org/default.asp?Page=About

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CONTACT: CAIR Legal Director Arsalan Iftikhar, 202-415-0799, E-Mail: arsalan@cair-net.org; Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787 or 202-744-7726, E-Mail: ihooper@cair-net.org; Rabiah Ahmed, 202-488-8787 or 202-439-1441, E-Mail: rahmed@cair-net.org

 

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