A group of Muslim workers at a tortilla factory have filed suit for religious discrimination after their employer required them to wear the uniforms that other employees wear. The factory claims that the loose-fitting scarves and dresses worn by Muslim women represent a safety risk. CAIR, who has unsurprisingly provided support for the lawsuit, says Gruma is simply bigoted:
A group of Muslim workers allege they were fired by a New Brighton tortilla factory for refusing to wear uniforms that they say were immodest by Islamic standards.
Six Somali women claim they were ordered by a manager to wear pants and shirts to work instead of their traditional Islamic clothing of loose-fitting skirts and scarves, according to the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a civil liberties group that is representing the women.
The women have filed a religious discrimination complaint with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. …
Gruma Corp., the Irving, Texas-based parent company of Mission Foods, released a written statement Tuesday denying that any employees were terminated or disciplined at the New Brighton plant. However, the company made clear the six women have been relieved of their responsibilities for the time being, and may ultimately lose their jobs if they don’t wear uniforms.
The women and CAIR claim that their jobs didn’t have any safety issues with loose clothing, but in the same breath note that the women work near a conveyor belt. Even at low speeds, loose clothing can tangle in machinery and cause injury, or at least damage to the machines. Moving in the same area of those machines also presents a safety risk, even if the specific job responsibilities are somewhere else in the factory.
The employer has the right to set work conditions in the factory for safety and efficiency. If other employees are required to wear uniforms, then all employees should wear uniforms, especially in areas where injuries or contamination could occur. Employees who do not wish to wear uniforms should find other work. That seems simple enough. And like my radio partner Mitch Berg suggests, I suspect OSHA would have a problem with anyone wearing long, flowing clothing anywhere near conveyor belts and similar machinery.
However, here in Minnesota, that lesson still hasn’t sunk in with a small minority of the Somali immigrant population. CAIR, which has its eye out for any kind of nonsense on which to gain national notoriety, promotes this false victimology. Whether it be Target clerks who won’t scan pork products or cab drivers who resist carrying guide dogs and bags with alcohol, that small percentage of Somali immigrants wants the entire community to bend to their rules rather than assimilate into American culture — and they want the courts to enforce their rules as well.
In the meantime, maybe we’ll add more Mexican food to the menu this week and buy a couple of packages of Mission tortillas.