Hertz Suspends Muslim Employees Over Prayer Breaks


A week ago, Hertz Rent-a-Car suspended 34 Muslim employees indefinitely for praying without clocking out. The drivers, who are all Somali Muslims, work for Hertz at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, for $10 an hour with no benefits.

Workers are allowed two paid 10-minute breaks during an eight-hour shift under Washington state law. Religious Muslims pray five times a day; workers prayed once or twice a day on their shifts. But Hertz spokesperson Rick Broome said that managers were concerned the prayers could “get out of hand” and warned the Muslim workers both in person and in writing that they would be suspended, unless they agreed to follow the clocking rules. Saying that the company felt it has to be “fair to all of its employees in Seattle,” Hertz said that the “breaks were typically extended long beyond the time necessary to complete religious obligations.”

Teamsters Local 117 held a protest at the airport on October 5 and has filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board. As Tracey Thompson, the union’s secretary-treasure, says:

“I don’t know what conclusion to draw except that this is based on religious discrimination.”

The Seattle Weekly provides more details:

According to Thompson, the contested prayer sessions took place on a rug behind a barrier in the garage where Hertz keeps its cars. She says the union has timed the prayers, and they take four to five minutes. (Broome says they’re longer.) Most of the year, the workers pray twice during an eight-hour shift, but on special occasions they’ll add another prayer. To compensate for their time on the prayer rug, they forego the twice daily 10-minute breaks that employees are entitled to.

Thompson says Hertz has long accepted this practice. And last year, she says, the company verbally agreed during negotiations that workers would not clock out for prayer breaks, even though all employees are required to punch in and out for regular breaks and meal times.

Broome denied that such an agreement was the case and emphasized the company’s fear that the workers would take long prayer breaks of 40 minutes or so. The workers’ contract does not actually spell out whether they are required to clock out for “mini breaks,” as the prayer breaks are referred to.

The workers themselves said that they do not want to clock out during prayer breaks because they do not wish to be monitored while doing so. But five-year-Hertz employee Maryan Muse says that Hertz management has indeed watched the workers praying:

“[The Hertz manager] stood in front of the prayer room with his arms fully extended,” employee Maryan Muse is quoted as saying in a union press release. “We managed to get into the prayer room, but while we were praying, they [Hertz management] were laughing and clapping their hands, mocking us.”

Broome says that the suspended workers will not be taken back “until they agreed to follow the rules.” But it certainly doesn’t look like Hertz itself is playing by the rules — about not discriminating on the basis of religious belief.


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Photo by dierk schaefer


Catt R.
Catt R5 years ago

How in the world does a Muslim saying a prayer harm you??? you should be ashamed of yourself..... calling their devotion to God as harm to you. If you are worried they will look better in God's eyes than maybe you should correct your own behavior rather than say these people are wrong to pray.

Also the article clearly says no-one else was expected to clock out for their breaks.... only those who used the time to pray---- that is clearly wrong.

Kellie N.
Kellie N5 years ago

Instead of blasting hate and shouting "WE'RE GOING TO BE INTOLERANT BECAUSE THEY ARE!!!" how about we grow the hell up and act like the decent human beings we should be and try to be better then those we vilify by being tolerant and understanding? Your not making them look bad your making yourself just look like ignorant trash!

Kellie N.
Kellie N5 years ago

Carol B.
7:41am PDT on Oct 8, 2011
It sounds like these workers did not take "extra breaks" but used the regular breaks for their prayer time. It was not required to clock-out for mini-breaks, just for the lunch and regular breaks. The workers also compensated for the prayer breaks by not taking the two ten-minute breaks allowed. If the prayers take 5 minutes twice a day, the company is gaining ten minutes of work from these workers. These people were hired with the agreement that they could use their time for prayer instead of a "regular" break. There was no extra privilege given them. Hertz in Seattle does not, perhaps, speak for Hertz everywhere, but I am sure a boycott of the company will help them to change their policies or to replace the managers who "were afraid" that the prayers could get out of hand, which is nonsense.

Just wanted to make sure this was up again. It's a great point that a lot of Islamaphobes are missing. Everyone saying work is work and religion should stay out of it like the Christians do did you not read the C2 article about Christian nurses that will no longer have to help those women coming in for abortions to include checking vitals and giving them something to change into? If not I suggest you go read it and tell me how that is supposed to be an example of not letting your religion get in the way of your work. Why are they not told to go work for some other place of medicine which they won't have to worry about such things? Instead of blas

Annmari Lundin
Annmari Lundin5 years ago

I give the Western countries 10 years, tops, before the muslims have taken over completely. So beware all liberals and islam huggers: Soon your daughter will have to wear niqabs and ask their 2 year olds permission to leave their homes!

Annmari Lundin
Annmari Lundin5 years ago

Anyone wondering why there are so few active muslim politicians in the Western world? I'll tell you why. They don't need to get involved in politics because they only have to call "foul" and get what they want.
A couple of days ago, a judge in a Swedish District Court, asked three women (?) to leave because they refused to remove their niqabs. The judge had the right to do so because the rules are clear: The court has to be able to look everyone attending in the face, have eye contact so to speak. The three women(?) left and immediately called the media to cry foul. They claimed to have been intimidated and violated if their religious freedom and they will of course demand a public apology (and some cash).
This is what happens when we allow an undemocratic, sexistic, homophobic, violent religion to expand all over the world!
I do not feel sorry for those immigrants belonging to islam. They had a choice where to settle. There are plenty of countries (unfortunately) around the world that include islam in its governing. And there would be no reason for the foul criers to live in our cesspools of sin, sex and women's lib!
When I was almost killed at work by a costumer I received 10,000 SEK in compensation. When a muslim woman was asked to remove her niqab to be able to finish her education, she received 40,000 SEK in compensation for being disriminated against because of her religious beliefs.
I give the Western countries 10 years, tops, before the muslims have taken over c

Heidi D.
Heidi D5 years ago

Carola, you are completely right. From murdering dogs in Spain to the appalling way they brutalize sheep and cattle before slaughter, islam and muslims are the ENEMY of every animal and animal-lover around the world.

Carola May
Carola May5 years ago

Here's the article about the Muslims killing dogs in Spain & demanding their laws by enacted, attempted honor killings & their refusal to abide by Spanish/EU laws:

Please read this article by a C2 member (it should've been on the main page, but C2 never prints anything that reflects poorly on their pet cause): http://www.care2.com/news/member/100541798/2980155

Carola May
Carola May5 years ago

This is so typical of Care2 in their efforts to whitewash all the bad things Islamists do the world over every day. They didn't print the whole article here &, as Dan C said below, only those Muslims who REFUSED to clock out as per company policy for their break to pray were suspended (they should have been fired). No one cares a diddle what they do on their official break - off the clock. They REFUSED to follow company policies for breaks, as everyone else had to do. What company allows the employees to make up their own rules?

Islam/Islamists can do nothing evil enough that C2 won't ignore or excuse it. The news every day is full of the terrorism, violence, wars, rapes, genocide by Islamists all over the globe, but C2 never sees any of this. They don't see the Christians being murdered & ethnically cleansed from several Islamic countries or the Jews being driven out of EU cities. They never mention the Chakma Buddhists being killed off in Islamic Bangladesh. They never mention the awful things happening here in Europe with the flood of Muslim immigrants & the forcing of Islam down our throats.

Muslims choose to move to our countries then proceed to demand we change to suit their backward, barbaric tribal ways. The article below points out clearly what the Islamists are doing from killing dogs in Spain to murders to instituting Sharia law & refusing to respect our laws & culture & values. This is happening all over the EU. It'll be

Donna R.
Donna R5 years ago

As with church and state, work and prayer should be separate! When at work, you should work unless, as Randi L. cleverly pointed out, just look up and say a prayer. Then, get back to what you are being paid to do - work! Hertz is 100% in the right.

Teamster's Local 117 - Tracey Thompson, Jimmy Hoffa would knock you into next week! At one time, I thought there was a need and a place for the unions. Today, with you and people that think like you, the unions need to go!

Randi L.
Randi Levin5 years ago

At work if I need to pray I cover my heart with my hand, look up and say a small prayer. If people/employees want more than that then they should work at a religiouos facility or go back to thier home country-----work and religion is like churcha nd state---separated for a purpose!