Muslim worker alleges workplace discrimination over prayers

Posted at 8:19 PM, Sep 20, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-20 20:19:44-04

DETROIT (AP) — A civil rights advocacy group has filed a religious discrimination complaint against a Detroit energy company on behalf of a former worker who is Muslim.

The Michigan chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations filed a grievance with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on Wednesday against DTE Energy, The Detroit News reported .

Ibrahim Canales joined the company last year and was initially allowed to attend Friday prayers by working extra hours throughout the week to make up for the lost time, the complaint states. But a new DTE supervisor who began two months later forbade Ibrahim Canales from attending Friday prayers, it alleges.

“Canales’ new supervisor now refused to allow him to leave to attend Friday prayers, despite the fact that several other non-Muslim employees were allowed to work long hours during the week and take Fridays off completely,” council officials said in statement.

Canales faced discipline for leaving despite having permission from other supervisors and he received biased evaluations that affected his pay and promotion opportunities, the filing states.

Records indicate that Canales’ religious accommodation requests were approved and implemented, DTE officials said, adding that the company is an equal opportunity employer that’s committed to being inclusive.

Canales left the company because of the treatment and took a job out of state, the council said.

“Nobody should have to choose between suffering in a toxic work environment or uprooting themselves and their family simply because they chose to practice their faith,” said council staff attorney Amy Doukoure.