A Florida company came under the glare of local news cameras recently, after
an employee claimed she had been fired for violating an unwritten policy against
consuming pork or pork products on company premises.
Orlando television station WKMG-TV reported obtaining a termination letter
in which Rising Star, a telecommunications company with strong Muslim ties,
said it was firing administrative assistant Lina Morales for violating a policy
against consuming pork or pork products on company premises. The Koran forbids
Muslims from eating pork.
Company officials acknowledged to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
that the policy is an unwritten one, according to WKMG.
Morales, who is Catholic, told the station she had been warned about eating
pizza with meat that the Muslim faith considered "unclean." Her firing
came when she ate a bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwich in the lunchroom, she
Rising Star CEO Kujaatele Kweli told WKMG that the company seeks to accommodate
all religions. But when a reporter pointed out Morales' dismissal, he said,
"Yes, pork is considered unclean."
Kweli also said Morales and every employee at the company is advised of the
no-pork policy. "Our point of view is to respect the laws of the land and
the laws of the land as I understand it is to the accommodate people's right
to practice their religions if you can," he said.
Morales is suing the company. "It's a classic case of religious discrimination,"
her lawyer, Travis Hollifield, said. "They have not articulated a single
reason other than religious reason behind the policy."