The Council on American-Islamic Relations is filing a religious discrimination complaint against the Ariens Company.
The Brillion-based manufacturer fired seven Muslim employees earlier this year, after executives decided to enforce a policy against unscheduled breaks. Another 14 resigned.
The complaint was filed with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in Milwaukee.
Maha Sayed is an attorney for the group. She says the company’s policy amounts to religious discrimination. Muslim workers were leaving their stations, to pray at specific times. Sayed says other employees were allowed to take unscheduled breaks for non-religious reasons.
Ariens officials said those breaks were impacting production. They said over the course of a year, a five-minute break costs the company about $1 million.
The Ariens Company says it’s disappointing that the group is filing the complaint. A statement says they currently have 27 Muslim employees, and they continue to accommodate them, with prayer rooms. It says the company respects their faith, and the work they do.