FINLAND. This story is so crazy that I hardly can belive it’s true. But it is.
An entrepreneur, born during the 1950s, in north-western Finland hired two foreign workers when he started up his plumbing company. They agreed on a 40 hour work week, 9 hours a day, and a chance to pray sometimes during the day. The employer organized a room where they could pray and agreed to provide lunch for them.
But when the men then prayed during working hours he cut their salaries which then wound up under the minimum collective agreement. That was an infringement of the Employment Contracts Act, but the praying took up 1 hour of every workday! And one of the employees also asked to quit early on Fridays which ended up with him asking to be away from work all day. The employer served pork for lunch, which was seen as a violation of equality by the court as the men couldn’t eat it and he didn’t provide a substitute for them.
The entrepreneur was sentenced to pay a 60-day penalty which a sum of € 2 640 ($3 048) for discrimination and violation of the Employment of foreigners act. What I wonder is how much the man knew about Islam and their practices. When he agreed to let them pray sometimes he probably didn’t know that their religion want them to pray several times a day and that every session consists of 15 minutes each on your knees, not just mumbling a quick prayer with tools in hand.
I’m not saying that the entrepreneur acted perfect in every way, but I think it’s a big problem that Muslims want to bring their religion to work. I think these kinds of conflicts will become more common and that we have to be very clear about how employment works in the west. You show up to work on time, you do all the tasks, you don’t get time of to practice your religion and you eat so you’re not a zombie that is totally useless. Basic stuff that’s the same for everyone.