DENVER Muslim Somali workers at two JBS Swift & Co. meatpacking plants in Colorado and Nebraska face ongoing harassment because of their race and religion, including being prevented from getting a drink at one of the plants after fasting all day during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleges.
A lawsuit filed by the EEOC on Aug. 30 in U.S. District Court in Denver alleges JBS officials shut off water fountains at its Greeley meatpacking plant, keeping Muslim Somali workers from getting a drink at sundown.
The suit says the water fountain incident happened in September 2008 and is part of a pattern of religious and racial harassment that continues at the plant. Workers also are denied prayer time and face termination for asking to pray, according to the lawsuit, which names as plaintiffs more than 80 current and former employees.
A second lawsuit filed by the EEOC in U.S. District Court in Omaha, Neb., alleges similar acts at the company’s meatpacking plant in Grand Island, Neb.
Swift officials did not return messages seeking comment in time for this story. Many workers named in the suit could not be reached for comment.
The lawsuit ...