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"A Flurry of Discord at Ariens Snowblower Plant,”
Industry Week

February 8, 2016
Susan Warner

In article published on Feb. 5, 2016, Jacksonville of counsel Susan Warner provides insight on the recent protest that occurred at the Ariens Co. manufacturing plant in Wisconsin. The protest involved 53 Somali Muslim workers who walked off the job when they were prohibited from taking their prayer break. The issue began when non-Muslim workers complained that the Somali Muslim workers were leaving the line to take prayer breaks. In response to the complaints, Ariens required that all employees stick to their scheduled breaks, with no additional breaks.

Ms. Warner explains that if the issue escalates to a lawsuit or a formal complaint with the EEOC, Ariens will need to prove that it tried to accommodate the employees’ religion within reason and that the accommodation employees require would cause “more than a minimal burden on the operation of the employer’s business.” She advises companies to engage in dialogue with employees before making changes that would affect religious accommodations. “My advice to any employer is before you take an action… see if there’s a way to work it out without escalating the situation,” Ms. Warner said. For the full article, please click here.