Somalis sue US poultry processor

Nine Somali immigrant employees at Gold'n Plump Poultry processor have alleged that they were discriminated against by their employer because of their race and their religion.

In a law suit filed last week in the federal court in Minneapolis, the group has alleged that the company would not permit them to take short breaks during the day to pray in accordance with their Muslim faith, which requires five prayers a day at times defined by position of the sun.
The lawsuit also claims that the company was more likely to make Somalis work the night shift and do the least desirable jobs in the factory. Caucasians, the lawsuit claims, were more likely to get promotions than Somalis.
Joe Snodgrass, attorney for the Somalis, asked the court for both compensatory and punitive damages, and asked the judge to order the company to provide "equal employment opportunities for all applicants and employees." The lawsuit does not specify an amount.
In a statement, Peggy Brown, director of human resources, said Gold'n Plump respects the religious beliefs of all employees and strives "to balance their religious practices with the realities of a manufacturing line”.
Brown said Gold'n Plump has made accommodations since 2003 to its Muslim employees to provide them with opportunities to pray. She said the company announced further changes last week, before it became aware of the lawsuit, "that we believe provide yet more opportunity for observance of Muslim prayer”.
She said Gold'n Plump was under no obligation to do so, and added that "modifications of this nature affect and possibly disrupt the lives and schedules of other employees."

Editor WorldPoultry

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