At the start of Ramadan, Tanenbaum provided an easy guide to navigating the month of Ramadan and the Eid, which includes important dates-to-remember and common practices. As the end of Ramadan approaches (the month of Ramadan ends on September 9th, with the Eid-Ul-Fitr on September 10th), effective ways of accommodating Muslim employees have popped up in workplaces across the country, from universities to appliance manufacturers.
- Allowing break periods for daily prayer (many Muslims pray 5 times a day);
- Providing private rooms for prayer (allowing employees to use conference rooms instead of cubicles or shared offices);
- Providing separate rooms for fasting employees to wait out lunch periods;
- Equipping bathrooms with basins for ablution, the ritual hand and foot washing required before prayer;
- Giving employees an extended lunch hour on Fridays (a time when many Muslims are obligated to pray in mosques or wish to participate in group prayer).
In our guide, we also suggested allowing employees who work through sunset to have a break to end the fast. This year, 165 Muslim employees at the large appliance manufacturer, Electrolux, in St. Cloud, MN were able to do just that. The employees’ breaks were previously scheduled before nightfall, and the company’s policy strictly forbids the consumption of food on the production floor. However, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recently announced that the company had changed its policies to better accommodate the needs of its Muslim employees, allowing them to take their meal break after nightfall to break their fast, pray the sunset prayer, and eat their Ramadan dinner.
Tanenbaum commends all of the organizations out there who have successfully accommodated their Muslim employees and co-workers to make their work environments welcoming during the month of Ramadan!