The security firm that patrols the headquarters of tech giant Amazon has been accused of allegedly mistreating its Muslim workers, with critics claiming the contractor does not appropriately accommodate their demands for prayer breaks 5 times a day — and retaliates against those who speak out. Three workers have filed charges claiming the company retaliated against them for complaining.
(Why would anyone in their right mind want to to hire Muslims in security positions?)
PJ Media The Service Employees International Union and three Muslim guards who work for Security Industry Specialists, the security contractor Amazon uses to guard its facility, accuse SIS, and by implication Amazon, of refusing to allow the guards space to pray five times daily.
Essag Hassan, a former SIS guard at Amazon, said he was let go because of his request to be allowed to pray on his work break. “I was fired and not given a reason why,” Hassan said. “I’m speaking out for all Muslim security workers and for workers of any religion. When you ask for a space to pray on your work break, that request should be treated with respect.”
“My wife was pregnant,” Hassan told the rapt crowd, voice quivering as his face tensed up and his eyes became hollow puddles, “and lost the baby because of stress.” (Awwww…boo hoo)
In February, hundreds of devout Muslims, clergy, labor unionists and some of their sympathetic leftist fellow workers engaged in a mass prayer demonstration against Amazon’s current policies which they see as discriminatory against Muslims.
Think Progress “Unlike other companies in locations with large Muslim populations, Amazon has not supported Muslim service workers requesting space to pray during their work breaks.” But they have.
More broadly, they claim that SIS — and Amazon — both have a history of mistreating or failing to accommodate those who claim Islam as their faith. Earlier this year, workers began claiming that SIS employees cannot access prayer rooms throughout the work day, even though devout Muslims typically pray five times a day as part of their faith.
SIS president and CFO Tom Seltz refuted this allegation. “Our employees assigned to Amazon have always been permitted to access space (when available) to pray on breaks, even before dedicated prayer rooms were formally introduced,” he said. “Before prayer rooms were introduced, employees generally used a vacant conference room or quiet room, when available. This has been the case for the past four years (since we’ve been at Amazon), and the recent addition of dedicated prayer rooms has just made access even easier.
SIS Muslim employees, they said, are prohibited from using rooms when Amazon employees are in them. They also said they are prohibited from speaking to “Amazonians,” as employees of the company are called, making it difficult to ask if a room is free. Instead, they say managers typically encourage SIS employees to pray elsewhere.
Workers also allege that some managers have been insensitive about Muslim holidays. According to workers, one supervisor supposedly told fellow staff that anyone upset about working through a break should “blame the Muslims” who took time off during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. One current security officer on the campus, Elmi Mohamad, also recounted an incident where a worker was allegedly reprimanded in public for leaving to pray during a meeting.
Even some Muslim security workers employed by Amazon itself — rather than SIS — report frustrating experiences with management regarding prayer. Ismail said her Amazon manager began tracking the time she spent praying, and claimed she once retrieved her prayer rug only to discover that someone had stepped on it. (Boo hoo)
“Cleanliness is very important to my religion,” she said. “I feel like that was telling me to get out, in a way. I was isolated from the entire team.”
Disputes over Muslim prayer polices are becoming increasingly common in the United States. In 2016, nearly 150 Muslim employees were fired for refusing to show up for work at a meat processing plant during a heated dispute over prayer accommodations, prompting several employees to eventually file charges.
A similar dispute flared up at a manufacturing plant in Wisconsin that same year, when the company suddenly revoked a policy that had previously allowed 53 Muslim workers to take five-minute breaks for daily prayers.
The debate came to a head on February 17, when protestors worked with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) to convene a “pray-in” outside Amazon’s headquarters to draw attention to the issue.