Muslim Workers Reach Compromise with Reichel Foods

Posted at: 12/20/2013 6:36 PM
Updated at: 12/20/2013 7:49 PM
By: Katie Eldred

(ABC 6 NEWS) -- A resolution today after 30 Somali workers walked off their jobs in Rochester.

The Muslim workers at Reichel Foods told ABC 6 News they were told to stop religious practices, or leave.  The company insists problems were solely related to food safety and sanitation.

The workers told ABC 6 Friday morning that at first they were told they could no longer wash before prayer, and then they were told they could no longer pray at all. That's when 30 of them walked out.

For two weeks the workers claim they tried to get their jobs back, but received no answer.

Reichel Foods tells us the problem was over food sanitation, not religious practices, and they worked with Somali community leaders to find a solution.

Just after we spoke Friday, the workers told us they heard back from Reichel Foods and were all offered their jobs back. 

Reichel Foods says it is arranging a room for the workers to be able to pray in. Reichel says the room will help the company uphold food sanitation regulations while allowing the workers to pray.

We also spoke with the Diversity Council about the issue. They said these issues are difficult and finding solutions can be challenging. One way to prevent these issues, they said, would be to create a more open conversation and understanding in the community.

The Minnesota Department of Human Rights says Reichel Foods has no discrimination cases on their record.