Liberal Civil War : Whole Foods And Muslims Come Into Conflict
So if this story was about business with conservative founders, like Hobby Lobby or Chick-Fil-A, this would have been all over the mainstream press. But liberals like Whole Foods so they don’t want to think it doesn’t fit their liberal principals. And when this case hit the docket their was certainly less than national coverage that one would have likely seen if the business was run by conservatives.
For starters we don’t think its wrong or racist for people to question some of the tenets of any religion that are misogynistic, homophobic and inhumane (ie see honor killings). And we think its a question when people wear religious garments like a headscarf during open surgery if it puts the patient at increased risk for infection (headscarves are large and folded and not like standard medical garments that lower the risk of infection). Basically religious requirements should not put safety at risk and they should not put extreme requirements on employers.
That said the case with liberal Whole Foods does seem to cross the line into religious discrimination. A muslim man working at Whole Food needed to pray five times a day. It can be assumed 2 or 3 of those were during work hours. Whole Foods responded by firing him. This seems fairly extreme. Here are some alternate solutions that could have worked.
He could mark down the times needed for prayer and work slightly later than other employees for the time off he needed. That way he is not getting extra benefits or special treatment. In essence he is paid for the time he is working.
Also I could see this being an issue for a lifeguard at a pool where constantly leaving your station puts children at risk. But it seems there are several jobs at whole foods (stocking shelves etc) where if you take time off to go pray it would not impact customer service.
Also if the employee was doing something, burning incenses etc, that interfered with the store operations and could annoy customers I could see Whole Foods having a case. But going off quietly to pray should not be an issue. And secondly, this is no different than people that need time off to go smoke or have a medical issue (for instance insulin shots).
In the end Whole Foods is not getting much heat for this being a bastion of liberalism the mainstream press will of course give them a pass but we are not. Muslims do not have the right to demand that non Muslims follow Sharia Law. But anyone should be able to leave work for a few minutes and pray regardless of their beliefs or religion.
Note: This court case has been resolved