Image of Muslim employees praying from CBS News story
The employees, who worked at a Cargill meatpacking plant in Colorado, were fired when they stopped coming to work after they and their employer could not come to an agreement on prayer-time.
According to a company spokesperson, the dispute was over simultaneous prayer; the company claims it allows employees to pray, but that they refused to let 11 workers pray simultaneously because it would be disruptive to the work schedule and business needs. In 2009, Cargill set aside prayer areas for their workers.
The Council on American Islamic Relations is working to find a compromise that would allow the workers to be re-hired, but Cargill is already replacing some of the employees.
This is not the first time that American companies have had conflicts with Muslim workers over daily praying; the Huffington Post wrote about this in 2011, noting that many Islamic scholars said it was OK to shift praying around a work schedule if needed.
It’s widely accepted that Americans spend more time at work than we have historically, and more than the citizens of any other nation. Is this conflict purely a matter of religious differences, or simply an early warning for a broader conflict over the amount of time we all spend at work?