Hertz Fires 26 Muslims Over Prayer Breaks

Employees refused to clock out, says company
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Oct 21, 2011 11:14 AM CDT
Hertz fired 26 Muslims for taking prayer breaks without clocking out.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – A Hertz branch in Seattle has fired 26 Muslim employees because they didn’t clock out during prayers. The car rental firm says it’s trying to be fair to other workers, but one fired employee tells KOMO News, “We feel like we're being punished for what we believe in.” Prayers are a matter of “five minutes," the employee adds. "It's not as big deal as the company's making it.”

The company says some of the employees were taking unfair advantage of their prayer time and it “had become a significant problem.” If that’s the concern, a local union says, the individual employees should be dealt with on a case-by-case basis. According to a company document, earlier this year employees were allowed to take prayer breaks without clocking out. The union says that as of Sept. 30, that policy had changed to require punching out for all breaks, including religious ones. But smokers seem to be exempt from the new rules, notes a union rep.

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