Spherion Corp. has agreed to rehire 31 Muslim employees who walked off the
job site at Dell's Nashville fulfillment center following a dispute over their
request to conduct sunset, or Magrhib, prayers in accordance with Islamic faith.
The Nashville Metro Human Relations Commission mediated the agreement with
Dell, Spherion, and the workers. Some of the workers already have returned to
work for Spherion at the Dell site. The remaining workers will be notified by
letter of the process for returning to their jobs with Spherion, according to
Dell and Spherion employees will receive additional training on Dell's existing
practices for religious accommodation as well. Those guidelines instruct managers
and supervisors to grant paid time away from an employees' work area for prayer
as long as those requests are reasonable.
The parties involved with the mediation praised the agreement.
"We are pleased with both the terms of the settlement and with the cooperative
attitude of all parties in the negotiations," says Nihad Awad, executive
director of the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR),
who who took part in the negotiations.
Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of l964, employers must reasonably accommodate employees' religious practices unless doing so would impose an "undue hardship" on the employer.