Several Muslim employees who work in call centres contacted me for labour law advice in regard to breaking one’s fast, whilst on shift at about 18h00. They advised me that weeks prior to Ramadan, the employees engaged with their employers to agree to take a few minutes off work to break their fast in order to consume a small snack. The employees advised me that their employers failed to wish to accommodate them in this regard, due to call centres having to be fully operational 24/7, seven days a week. As a result hereof, they were unable to break their fast at the appropriate time, due to the operational requirements of the business. They told me that they would have to break their fast when an opportunity arose when there were less incoming calls to attend to.
Many employers fail to show religious respect / tolerance for it’s Muslim employees and fail to entertain an amicable resolution, in order for the employees to break their fast timeously.
My recommendation is for those Muslim employees who affected to approach the Equality Court for relief. Alternatively, they could declare a labour dispute at the CCMA and attend a conciliation hearing. If this hearing remains unresolved, they could seek relief at the Labour Court for discrimination on the grounds of religion.
For further information you can contact Bernard Reisner:
W.Tel no.: 021 423 3959
Cell: 082 433 8714