HR Strange But True!
August 06, 2004

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 said.

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."

Source: WKMG-TV, Orlando

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