EEOC says Cargill violated Muslim workers’ rights

Minnetonka-based agribusiness giant Cargill has run afoul of the EEOC when it refused to allow Somali-American workers to pray during their breaks at one of their Colorado facilities. The EEOC says that violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.

Problems arose when supervisors refused to let the workers pray during breaks in December 2015. One hundred fifty workers walked off the job.

Supervisors fired the departed workers for violating the company’s attendance policy.

The workers filed a religious discrimination complaint with the EEOC, which launched an investigation into Cargill’s failure to accommodate the workers’ religious practices.

The parties are now trying to resolve the dispute through the EEOC’s conciliation process. If they cannot come to an agreement, the workers could file suit.

Note: Employers must accommodate an employee’s religious practice unless doing so would constitute an undue burden.