More than 50 Somali Muslim employees at a Wisconsin manufacturer stopped coming to work last week after the company said it would no longer make special scheduling accommodations for prayer breaks.
Yesterday, the Council on American-Islamic Relations urged the workers to return to their jobs at Ariens in Brillion, Wisc., and continue to seek prayer breaks, even if it means getting fired, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.
The workers stopped coming after Ariens, a 900-employee manufacturer of snow blowers and lawn mowers, said it was going to start cracking down on unscheduled breaks, sticking to a hard line of two 10-minute breaks per work shift without special accommodations for prayer.
Previously, Ariens was more lenient about the prayer breaks. But Ariens President Dan Ariens told the Sentinel that the practice was getting out of control and could cost the company millions of dollars in lost productivity, with non-Muslim employees starting to ask why they didn’t get prayer breaks also.