American Samizdat

Tuesday, March 27, 2007. *
At least 40,000 Somalis have settled in Minnesota since the early 1990s, fleeing civil war in their East African homeland. The Twin Cities is home to the largest Somalian immigrant community in the nation. [...]

Federal law requires employers to make reasonable accommodations for religious beliefs — so long as that doesn't place an "undue burden" on the business. Defining undue burden, however, can be tricky. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission handled 2,541 complaints of faith-based discrimination last year, up nearly 50% from a decade earlier. Last fall, the Minneapolis transit authority cited the reasonable accommodations law in promising not to assign a driver to buses that carried ads for a local gay and lesbian magazine called Lavender. The driver had objected to the ads — which carry the slogan "Unleash Your Inner Gay" — on religious grounds.

The law has also been used to aid Muslim employees. Managers often allow Muslim workers to schedule their breaks to coincide with the five-times-a-day prayer. Target last week reassigned its Muslim cashiers to jobs that don't require handling pork, such as stocking shelves. Other chains have also made such accommodations. But the taxi driver dispute has resisted easy solutions. About 70% of the more than 900 drivers licensed to work at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport are Somalian immigrants, spokesman Patrick Hogan said. In the last five years, 4,854 passengers have been denied service because they carried alcohol.

[My super special religion has three hundred and sixty five non-optional paid holidays. Every four years we have an optional holiday. I also am forbidden from having anything to do with people who are Muslims, Christians, Jews, Hindu, Buddhist, Pagans, 'spiritual not religious' or agnostic. If I move to Minneapolis will I get the respect my religion demands? More important, can I make other people follow my religion if I'm 'sincere' about it?]


posted by Trevor Blake at 11:54 PM
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