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Eight Florida taxi drivers file religious discrimination charges

In a post 9/11 America, religious tolerance seems to have fallen by the wayside, especially toward the followers of Islam. As a result, more American Muslims are finding themselves victims of religion discrimination in the workplace, including workers across Florida.

Recently, a group of eight taxi drivers who work for a company in Orlando filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, alleging that management threatened to fire them for engaging in their daily prayers during work hours. One of the eight men has apparently already been fired.

Many devout Muslims pray five times per day at regular intervals. The prayer sessions usually last approximately five to seven minutes.

We have previously written that employers are required to make reasonable accommodations to allow their employees to observe religious practices unless those accommodations would create an "undue burden."

In some cases, employers could potentially claim that these daily prayers create an unacceptable disruption to the work day. But according to the eight Muslim taxi drivers, they prayed only during their breaks.

The attorney representing the workers notes that "This is a clear case of violation of state, federal and local law." He and others believe that an attack on anyone's religious freedoms in the workplace ultimately threatens everyone's religious freedoms.

Echoing that sentiment, the head of the Tampa chapter of the Council on American-Islamic relations said: "It means they could essentially fire anybody of any faith for doing their prayers. We're doing this case to protect the religious freedom of all Americans."

Commenting on the difficulty of the situation, one of the taxi drivers said: "Either you practice your religion or you lose your job. I don't think that's fair in this country."

Source: ABC 15, "Eight Florida 'Star Taxi' drivers claim their boss made them choose between prayer and their job," Alison Morrow, Mar. 13, 2012

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