26 Muslim employees at a Hertz branch in Seattle were fired recently after they failed to clock out while taking prayer breaks.
The company says the firings occurred because their Muslim employees were taking unfair advantage of prayer time and it “had become a significant problem.”
A local union rep says the company made a mistake when they fired all of their Muslim workers rather than dealing with the issue on a case-by-case basis. The union rep points to an internal document that allowed Muslim workers to take prayer breaks without clocking out. The company’s clock out policy was amended on Sept. 30 to require clocking out for all breaks including for religious practices.
One former Muslim employee told KOMO News:
“We feel like we’re being punished for what we believe in.” While the employee added, “Prayers are a matter of five minutes” and “It’s not as big deal as the company’s making it.”
The union representative for the former workers says it’s not fair that the policy is only being enforced for Muslim prayer time while smokers seem to be exempt from the same rule when taking smoke breaks.
It’s still unclear what if any actions will be taken against Hertz for the firings.
I honestly don’t see the big deal with allowing for prayer times, I know people who routinely take upwards of 5 smoke breaks during an eight hour shift, far exceeding the 5 minutes it takes for a Muslim employee to pray.
Do you think the employees should have been required to clock out and should they have been fired for failing to do so?