A Fort Morgan meatpacking plant and the union that represents its employees will pay settlements to Muslim workers whose civil rights were violated when they were denied prayer breaks and then fired after they complained.
Cargill Meat Solutions will pay $1.5 million and the Teamsters Local Union No. 455 will pay $153,000 to resolve complaints filed in 2015 after the Somali-American workers walked off the job over the prayer breaks dispute, the U.S. Equal Opportunity Employment Commission announced in a news release Friday.
The company and the union did not accept the EEOC’s findings that they discriminated against the employees because of their religion, but decided to settle to avoid lengthy legal proceedings.
Cargill now allows prayer breaks and provides designated areas for the workers to practice their religion. The breaks take into account production line needs and food safety requirements.