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The case was on the firing of a number of Muslim workers of JBS-SWIFT Company who walked off their job when the company seemed reluctant to allow the Ramadan accommodation. Hundreds of Somali workers had left the slaughter house because they wouldn’t be given a break for prayers. The U.S Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) seemed convinced that JBS-SWIFT had violated the employees’ civil rights. The EEOC interpreted the case as a practice of biasness against the Muslims. Their basis of argument was the Federal law which requires the employers to accommodate the religious practices of its workers provided that doing so would not create an undue burden on the employer. The EEOC determined that JBS-SWIFT had violated a portion of Civil Rights Act that forbids certain forms of discrimination in employment.
In its first complaint, it alleged that JBS-SWIFT had engaged in a pattern of practice of discrimination that included harassment, a hostile work environment and discriminatory job assignments. The commission’s second allegation was that JBS-SWIFT retaliated against the employees by terminating their employment when they requested their evening to be moved to allow them fast and pray at sundown during the Month of Ramadan. Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
According to the commission, such practices by the company were targeting a class of Somali and Muslim employees. It interpreted the discrimination to be basically based on the race, religion and the nationality of the Somalis. The commission also stated that JBS-SWIFT denied accommodation and retaliated against the workers who complained against it. The EEOC’s determination meant that the way forward would be for JBS-SWIFT and the fired Muslim workers to sit and negotiate on the terms of settlement.
The JBS-SWIFT Company in its first quest for a solution fired some of its workers. The first victims were the workers who walked out and failed to return to work. However, their strategy of searching for a solution changed after loosing the case against the Muslim workers through the intervention of the EEOC. The company later considered setting up special prayer rooms for the Muslims workers where they carried out their religious obligation. The Muslim workers were even allowed to attend their five series of daily prayers. JBS-SWIFT agreed to accommodate religious practices of all its employees. The company established a close working relationship with its employees and their union representatives to accomplish the balance of reasonable accommodation and operational requirements.
Contrary to this, Tyson Company decided to make accommodation of the Muslim faithful informal. The company’s solution was based on the observation of holidays. Having witnessed resentment against its attempt to exchange Labor Day for Eid ul-Fitr from non-Muslims, the company’s pursued an option of approving Eid ul-Fitr Holyday adding it to the seven other recognized paid holidays. This meant that the number of its paid holydays increased to eight.
The strategy chosen as a solution by JBS –SWIFT is likely to have the greatest impact on the company. This began to be witnessed immediately as a number the company’s non-Muslim workers held series of protests against the company’s break time accommodation of Muslims. According to these workers, the changes were unfair to the workers of other religious beliefs. Considering that majority of its Muslim population are also non-American natives and the people of another race, the issues has the potential of causing divisions among the employees along the racial, religious, and nationality lines.
With such trend of stereotyping, it may reach a time when the native non-Muslims will start having a feeling that the Somalis have come to dictate what is to be done in their own country and companies. The division would also be triggered by the fact that the non-Muslim workers would have to work for longer periods than their Muslim Counterparts. Therefore, by accommodating one group’s needs, JBS-SWIFT Company could be providing a major disruption and resentments environments. This solution may result into a lasting tension among the company’s workers causing a greater negative impact on the company compared to that implemented by the Tyson Company.
On the other hand, despite losing another working day, the solution strategy implemented by Tyson Company would help realize a lasting peaceful coexistence among its workers. The Eid ul-Fitr Holyday having been widely accepted among the workers helped minimized the possibility of the company experiencing religious, racial, and nationality based conflicts. This means that the strategy be Tyson would automatically greatest positive impact on the company.
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