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Somalis allege retaliation for discussing work conditions

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Human Resources

A group of Somali school bus drivers in Minneapolis claim they were fired after they started a group to discuss discrimination and working conditions. Now the Minnesota Chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) has filed twin complaints on behalf of 15 drivers with both the EEOC and the National Labor Relations Board.

The complaints allege the drivers were fired from Monarch Bus Service and Minneapolis & Suburban Bus Company after they formed a group called the United Community of Drivers. The purpose was to provide a forum for discussing allegedly discriminatory acts, such as assigning Somali drivers to poorly maintained buses, some of which lacked heat. Poor bus conditions inevitably led to increased complaints against the drivers.

Group leaders claimed the bus companies retaliated against drivers by cutting hours and pay and assigning group members to less desirable routes. The bus companies have denied all charges.

The EEOC claims the drivers suffered retaliation for filing the complaints. The NLRB complaints allege the employers violated the workers’ rights under Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act, which guarantees employees the right to discuss workplace conditions and organize.

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