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Ariens fires 7 Muslim workers over prayer breaks

Posted: 1:42 PM, Feb 03, 2016
Updated: 2016-02-03 23:21:48-05
BRILLION -- A Wisconsin company that makes snowblowers is facing controversy for firing seven of its Muslim employees.
 
The dispute is over how many breaks their employees have to pray.
 
Employees at Ariens Company in Brillion, southeast of Appleton, were given leniency for a third break for prayer.
It's been taken away because of the cost of lost productivity.
 
14 employees resigned and seven were terminated Tuesday, for taking unscheduled prayer breaks. A civil liberties group plans to file federal discrimination and harassment complaints against the company.
 
The Milwaukee Muslim Women's Coalition President explained prayer is required five times a day, and does not take long.
"It's no longer than some other employees probably taking some bathroom breaks. They're being basically asked to choose between their employment and their faith," said Janan Najeeb, Milwaukee Muslim Women's Coalition President.
 
Ariens Company president explained they have a private room for employees to pray, but he realized the cost of a third break is about a million dollars in lost productivity.
 
The company still allows two ten-minute breaks. Out of 53 Muslim employees involved, 32 have abided with the policy.