Company sued over break policy for Muslim workers

BRILLION, Wis. (AP) — A civil liberties group representing Muslim employees of Wisconsin manufacturer has filed a religious discrimination complaint against the company for not allowing extra break time for prayer.

Ariens Co. fired seven Muslim employees earlier this year for taking unscheduled prayer time. Another 14 employees resigned over the break policy.

The lawnmower and snow blower manufacturer, based in Brillion, moved to enforce an existing rule of two 10-minute breaks per work shift in January. The company initially allowed the Muslim employees to leave their work stations a third time to accommodate prayers but concluded that disrupted production.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR, filed the discrimination complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Tuesday. An Ariens spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a call and email seeking comment.