JBS to Pay $5.5 Million to Fired Muslims

May 25, 2021
JBS USA has reached a settlement in a long-running dispute over Muslim religious practices.

JBS USA has reached a settlement in a long-running dispute over employees who were allegedly fired from a meat processing plant for trying to follow their Muslim religious practices.

The $5.5 million consent decree has been agreed to by JBS and the plaintiffs, Reuters reports. If a federal judge in Colorado endorses it, the settlement will bring an end to a case that began in 2010, when JBS fired about 200 Muslim employees from a plant in Colorado.

The firings were a response to a walkout staged by about 150 employees, which was the result of a dispute over religion that had festered for about two years. The workers were angry that JBS barred them from taking prayer breaks during Ramadan, Islam’s holy month. JBS contended that the breaks disrupted production and were unfair to non-Muslim workers.

The dispute landed before the U.S. Equal Opportunity Employment Commission, which found that JBS’s concerns were “speculative” and that it had engaged in a “pattern or practice” of discrimination against religion. JBS appealed, and U.S. District Judge Philip Bremmer overruled the EEOC on the discrimination charge. However, he upheld the finding that JBS’s concerns were speculative because the company had destroyed the relevant timekeeping records, and rejected the company’s efforts to dismiss the suit.

In addition to the money, JBS agreed to improve its anti-discrimination policies and training for managers.

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