Friday, November 16, 2007

Businesses avoid 'problems' by not hiring Muslims

Businesses avoid 'problems' by not hiring Muslims, commission told
To avoid "problems" with Muslims making demands in the workplace, some Montreal-area businesses are simply refusing to hire them, the Bouchard-Taylor commission heard yesterday.

"I'm not saying it's the majority, but as a human-resources manager for several organizations I've often been told not to hire such-and-such a community," said Pierre Dumais, who works in Laval.

"It's not (motivated) out of racism or anything like that. It's just not to have problems with reasonable accommodations - for example, having to provide a prayer room." Dumais is president of the the Regroupement des gestionnaires en ressources humaines de Laval, which represents about 50 small and medium-sized businesses.
He gave two recent examples involving Muslims. In one case, a Laval assembly-line worker asked for the month of the Ramadan off - he was refused, because the plant was operating at full capacity. At another local factory, two workers left the assembly line on a Friday to go pray at their mosque - they were disciplined for going AWOL.

"But what if the person complains, and takes his complaint to the human rights commission, or the union files a grievance?" Dumais asked. "It's a dilemma." What's next? he wondered.

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