Target: Ariens President Dan Ariens
Goal: Stop a new schedule that does not include time for Muslim employees to pray from going into effect.
A new company policy at Ariens eliminates previously established time for its Muslim employees to take prayer breaks. The company is based in Brillon, Wisconsin and makes snowblowers and lawnmowers. Their new policy only allows two 10-minute breaks during a shift, putting Muslim employees on the floor during their usual prayer time.
The company’s president, Dan Ariens, insists it was a decision based on money, and not racism, as he calculates the company loses millions when the Muslim employees take prayer breaks. He also has said other employees find it unfair that the Muslim staff gets prayer breaks. Still, it infringes on their religious rights, and unlike most religions, the Muslim faith requires prayer at certain times of day.
The company’s branch staffs 53 Muslim Somali immigrants, most of whom work on assembly lines. Many of them walked off when Ariens announced the new schedule, although some have come back, are in talks to come back, or are in talks to take different shifts. The Council on American-Islamic Relations has urged the employees to go back to work and demand change, not quit and let it take effect.
Ariens seems to mean well, and he has spoken highly of the affected employees, but his new schedule could potentially breach federal law. Please let him know he can run his business without making these cuts.
Dear Dan Ariens,
We urge you to stop your new work schedule at the Brillon branch from going into effect. Having employees take frequent breaks can affect the productivity of a company, especially on an assembly line, but your new policy infringes on the religious rights of your Muslim employees. It could possibly even breach a federal law if their religious rights are not accommodated.
The Muslim faith requires prayer at specific times of the day, and you seem to be aware of this. By forcing employees to take shorter, scheduled breaks for quick prayer, their religious rights are being partially taken away. Employees of other faiths might be upset over the time that Muslim employees get, but other faiths do not ask for prayer at a specific time like Islam does.
All of your employees are important to the company, and the new schedule excludes some of them from being able to fully take part in their jobs. It is unfair to them to take away their time to pray, and it does not reflect well on the company you run. Please reconsider the company’s new schedule.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Royalbroil