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Muslim Employee Of Whole Foods Inc Suffered Discrimination, Harassment

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posted on Jan, 1 2012 @ 07:54 AM
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A former Whole Foods Market employee says he was fired because he is Muslim.

Glenn Mack Jr. told reporters Tuesday that he experienced harassment by his supervisors because of his Islamic faith, resulting in his termination.

A spokeswoman for the natural-food supermarket chain said the company denied Mack's allegations.

Mack, 24, started working for Whole Foods in 2008. He was terminated in February 2011 for absenteeism, said his lawyer, Amara Chaudhry, with the Philadelphia chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

He filed a compliant with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in March, Chaudhry said, adding she will file an amended complaint in the next few weeks.

Whole Foods Market spokeswoman Kate Lowery said the company "cannot give out details about current or former team members due to privacy, but we deny these allegations."

"It¹s well known that Whole Foods values and celebrates diversity," Lowery said, adding, "We have a zero-tolerance discrimination policy, zero tolerance."

Mack said he had been well-liked at the Whole Foods location on Pennsylvania Avenue in Philadelphia. He said he was the community service liaison and had been chosen to run the employees' assistance fund designed to help "team members in need." Mack added he was also selected to meet Whole Foods Market co-founder and CEO John Mackey.

The problems began, he said, after his supervisors learned he was using his approved vacation time for Hajj, the Islamic pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia during the last month of the Islamic calendar.

Hajj represents the fifth and final "pillar" of Islam. Every Muslim who is physically and financially capable is expected to make the pilgrimage once in their lifetime.

Mack said he had kept his Islamic faith a secret after overhearing comments that disturbed him. He said he requested time for the vacation two months in advance of the November 2010 trip. Prior to his vacation, his supervisors gave him a choice of keeping his job or going on the trip, he said.

Mack was downgraded from full-time employment to part-time employee upon returning from the pilgrimage and before being terminated, he said.

While working, he said he was followed by supervisors and watched when he went to pray in a storage room, and so began to complete his daily prayers outdoors near a trash dumpster.

"The fact that Glenn felt pressured or compelled to pray in the location that he did is not insignificant. A Muslim wouldn¹t do so unless under compelling circumstances or in a state of duress," Chaudhry, his attorney, said.

Whole Foods works with its employees to accommodate special requests and has an open-door policy, Lowery said, adding the company has many Muslim employees in the Philadelphia and Mid-Atlantic regions.

"We are looking at this from every angle possible," Lowery said.

A formal lawsuit has not been filed; however there is a pending matter before the EEOC and that has been cross-filed with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission, Chaudhry said. Mack is seeking reinstatement and compensation for his termination, plus mandatory tolerance training for employees, Chaudhry said.

This is just gross, blatant, and horrid discrimination. If someone told a Christian they couldn't pray or wear a cross at work, there would be much more widespread coverage and Whole Foods would be made to pay. As it stands, there's hardly any coverage at all.
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posted on Jan, 1 2012 @ 08:29 AM
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reply to post by cetaphobic
 


readsing between the lines - i have to ask - where did he pray between 2008 and september 2010 ?



posted on Jan, 1 2012 @ 08:35 AM
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Originally posted by cetaphobic

This is just gross, blatant, and horrid discrimination. If someone told a Christian they couldn't pray or wear a cross at work, there would be much more widespread coverage and Whole Foods would be made to pay. As it stands, there's hardly any coverage at all.





Not here in the UK.
You leave your religion at home.
There have people who have been suspended and fired for wearing crosses at work and others for praying for patients when the patients asked them not to.

Seriously... believe what you want but don't bring it to work and don't force it on others.

Nobody needs a place to pray or to show off their religion at work.



posted on Jan, 1 2012 @ 08:45 AM
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There's no way this is true. Without a doubt this is a lazy former employee trying to make a quick buck out of whole foods.

Whole Foods is the epitome of liberal middle class douchebaggery and thrives on multiculturalism.



posted on Jan, 1 2012 @ 09:12 AM
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my wallet suffers when it see's 6 "organic" hamburger buns for $9.99 at whole foods.

so i would go for a $300 million lawsuit. they can afford it from years of ripping off hippies and tree huggers.



posted on Jan, 1 2012 @ 09:14 AM
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It doesn't seem to be clear if he was on his break when he was praying. Besides that, Did he ask permission to use the storage room for personal porposes?

Also, he probably became suspicious, when they found out he was hiding the reason to ask vacations with anticipation.

Please don't get me wrong, I respect muslims.



posted on Jan, 1 2012 @ 11:00 AM
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Originally posted by fiflad
There's no way this is true. Without a doubt this is a lazy former employee trying to make a quick buck out of whole foods.


All it would take is one bigot floor manager to make this scenario happen. While I'm pretty sure I know more bigots than lazy people, they often go hand-in-hand. I'm more inclined to believe that there are more prejudiced store managers than I am to believe there are lazy store clerks. If he were lazy, he'd work his way up to middle management.


Originally posted by fiflad
Whole Foods is the epitome of liberal middle class douchebaggery and thrives on multiculturalism.


Or they are simply a place to buy quality organic food for those of us who don't like to eat fast food and TV dinners everyday. What you said is a very generalizing and ignorant statement, all around.
edit on 1-1-2012 by Cuervo because: coffee...



posted on Jan, 1 2012 @ 12:23 PM
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Please forgive me, I'm just in a bad mood. Wouldn't the headline have been better if it said "claimed discrimination" rather than "suffered discrimination?" I don't think we have more than the claimant's story yet, do we?

By the way, if his obligation is to make the trip once in a lifetime, why now?



posted on Jan, 1 2012 @ 01:18 PM
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reply to post by charles1952
 

Why not? The article says he had approved his required vacation time, and he probably had saved up enough to do it.


reply to post by blupblup
 

As far as taking breaks for praying, why shouldn't he? It would take probably 2 breaks during his day, each of less than 5 minutes, and one of them he could probably incorporate into his lunch-break. People take longer and more frequent coffee/cigarette breaks. And praying is a requirement of his religion, not something he'd be doing to show off his faith, or preach or harass other people with or anything. If the article is to be believed, he went out of his way to hide the fact that he was doing it.

Sorry if it comes off as if I don't believe you, but did someone REALLY get fired from their job simply for wearing a cross to work? Do you have a (non-dailymail type
) source for this?
edit on 1-1-2012 by babloyi because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 1 2012 @ 01:31 PM
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reply to post by babloyi
 

Dear babloyi,

Thanks for editing your post to indicate that I need not defend prayer at work or cross wearing, But i did seem to remember something in England, so I looked and found: Nurse loses job - Guardian Apparently she was removed from her patient care job and transferred to a desk.

As far as why now? I don't feel strongly about the issue and certainly won't fight to get my way, but it seems that when you're just starting out to make your way, wisdom suggests that you be a bit more sensitive to your employer. That would seem to be especially true if you're lower level and easily replaceable.

No, he doesn't have to violate his conscience. And I'll be interested to hear the employer's side of the argument.

With respect,
Charles1952



posted on Jan, 1 2012 @ 01:32 PM
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Originally posted by blupblup
Not here in the UK.
You leave your religion at home.
There have people who have been suspended and fired for wearing crosses at work and others for praying for patients when the patients asked them not to.

Seriously... believe what you want but don't bring it to work and don't force it on others.

Nobody needs a place to pray or to show off their religion at work.


Same thing has happened in America. You do not bring your religion to work.

If a Muslim believes he/she must pray 5 times a day - - - then they need to disclose that to employer before being hired and have it written into their specific hire requirements.



posted on Jan, 1 2012 @ 02:42 PM
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reply to post by charles1952
 

Thank you for providing that link. While I can totally see the NHS's side to the story, if I am being honest with myself, I have to admit that if it was a muslim issue, I would feel SOME form of "this is discrimination against muslims". If, as they say, it was about safety concerns about patients grabbing necklaces, I would've liked to see their reasoning for not allowing her to wear the crucifix pinned on the outside of her clothes.

As far as the on-topic story goes, I too would be interested in seeing the employer's side of the story.

reply to post by Annee
 

A muslim has to pray during 5 allocated times of the day. During usual work-hours (9 to 5...although I wouldn't know what his work hours at Whole Foods would've been) he wouldn't need to pray more than twice, and as I said, one of these prayers usually line up with the lunch break. Assuming (as is usually the normal case at most workplaces) that he got cigarette/coffee/some sort of break, his praying would cause NO disruption to his work at all. Again, if he lined up vacation time, it really shouldn't matter at all what he used it for, especially if he didn't take more than that time.

So having to "report his muslimness" seems a bit...well...1984-style dystopian. It would just open the doors for work-discrimination against muslims. What next, have them wear a yellow crescent?


Again, we haven't heard the employer side of the story, so of course, it seems pointless to jump to conclusions. I am curious what they would say.



posted on Jan, 1 2012 @ 02:56 PM
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Originally posted by babloyi
A Muslim has to pray during 5 allocated times of the day. During usual work-hours (9 to 5...although I wouldn't know what his work hours at Whole Foods would've been) he wouldn't need to pray more than twice, and as I said, one of these prayers usually line up with the lunch break. Assuming (as is usually the normal case at most workplaces) that he got cigarette/coffee/some sort of break, his praying would cause NO disruption to his work at all. Again, if he lined up vacation time, it really shouldn't matter at all what he used it for, especially if he didn't take more than that time.


If the employee can work it out on their official breaks and lunch hour - - that's fine.

However - - any future employee that requires special needs - - must establish that at time of hire - - or they have no recourse.

I don't think we have the full truth of this story. I do accept individuals have prejudices - - and this could be the case of the manager in this complaint.

Yes - - no employer has legal right to what you do on your official vacation.

Will just have to wait on this one - - to see what comes out.



posted on Jan, 1 2012 @ 03:05 PM
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Originally posted by Annee

Originally posted by babloyi
A Muslim has to pray during 5 allocated times of the day. During usual work-hours (9 to 5...although I wouldn't know what his work hours at Whole Foods would've been) he wouldn't need to pray more than twice, and as I said, one of these prayers usually line up with the lunch break. Assuming (as is usually the normal case at most workplaces) that he got cigarette/coffee/some sort of break, his praying would cause NO disruption to his work at all. Again, if he lined up vacation time, it really shouldn't matter at all what he used it for, especially if he didn't take more than that time.


If the employee can work it out on their official breaks and lunch hour - - that's fine.

However - - any future employee that requires special needs - - must establish that at time of hire - - or they have no recourse.

I don't think we have the full truth of this story. I do accept individuals have prejudices - - and this could be the case of the manager in this complaint.

Yes - - no employer has legal right to what you do on your official vacation.

Will just have to wait on this one - - to see what comes out.


My employer suggested that I "should not write about Islam" (since I am an author and write on different websites) - to which I kindly suggested to him that "he should try to stop me".
To which he never again said anything to me.



posted on Jan, 1 2012 @ 03:10 PM
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Originally posted by sHuRuLuNi
My employer suggested that I "should not write about Islam" (since I am an author and write on different websites) - to which I kindly suggested to him that "he should try to stop me".
To which he never again said anything to me.


Good for you.

I'm remember when people were fired (and other things) for not being Christian.

Thankfully we now have laws against this kind of discrimination.



posted on Jan, 1 2012 @ 05:06 PM
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Originally posted by Annee
Same thing has happened in America. You do not bring your religion to work.

If a Muslim believes he/she must pray 5 times a day - - - then they need to disclose that to employer before being hired and have it written into their specific hire requirements.




Exactly.
Religion is a personal thing and not a public thing.



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