Eight Muslim cab drivers in Orlando, Fla., claim their employer prohibited them from praying during work hours, and even assaulted and fired one of them for doing so. Now they’re filing complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, alleging that they were discriminated against on the basis of their religion and national origin.
The eight Arab-American employees worked for Star Taxi, a member of the Transtar Transportation Group, which provides taxi, luxury SUV and limousine services in the Orlando area. They allege that various supervisors told them that they would be fired if they were caught praying at any of the company’s service stations, even though employees of other faiths regularly prayed and read religious material.
“When other employees are allowed to go on a smoke break, or read the Bible, Muslim employees are prohibited from praying,” said Hassan Shibly, one of the attorneys representing the men. He’s also the executive director of the Florida chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the largest Muslim civil rights group in the U.S. “They’re making them choose between their religion and supporting their families. It’s crazy,” Shibly explained.
One manager, Laura Jackson, allegedly told other employees at the company to let her know if they saw Muslim employees praying, and to take a photo if possible.