The employees say Hertz Sea-Tac Airport location is trampling on their right to religious freedom, but the company says it’s merely trying to promote fairness in the workplace. “We feel like we’re being punished for what we believe in,” said former Hertz employee Ileys Omar.
Omar is a Muslim who prays five times a day. In the past, Muslim employees at Hertz paused for their prayers without clocking out. But Hertz says some employees were abusing their privilege to pray. In an e-mail, spokesman Richard Broome said the abuse “had become a significant problem creating issues of fairness among employees.”
On Sept. 30, Hertz posted a new policy that states all rest and meal periods must be punched, including all religious observation, according to the union. “The company unilaterally implemented this policy to clock in and out, and specifically identified prayer breaks in their policy.
The union says it is fighting the terminations through grievance and arbitration procedures and is also filing unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board, as well as religious discrimination complaints with the EEOC.