Praying For Some Common Sense

| Toronto, ON, Canada | Bad Behavior, Bigotry, Bosses & Owners, Religion

(I work for a market research company, where we called people and conduct surveys about various products, business concerns, or political issues. I have been promoted from dialing surveys to training supervisor, where I train new hires how to use our computer system to correctly conduct surveys. I am giving my introductory spiel about the company.)

Me: “We here at [Company] are a very diverse company, welcoming people from all races, backgrounds, countries, faiths, sexual preferences, etcetera. It is important for you to know that you are supported here. I am aware that people of Islamic faith may need special prayer time that falls outside the prescribed 15 minute break and may also prefer privacy for this. Please don’t hesitate to approach your supervisor and let them know you need to pray. We have an equipment room in the back with enough room for you to pray as you need. I’ll show you when we tour the main office and dialing floor. If for some reason your supervisor does not authorize you to go pray, please come find me on the floor or in the training room and I will make sure you are excused so you may go pray. We don’t want anyone to feel discriminated against for any reason.”

(Everything seems fine until several days later, when the operations manager, floor manager, and main office manager call me into a meeting.)

Main Manager: “The reason we asked you in here today, [My Name], is because we’ve received a very disturbing report about you.”

Me: “What?! What disturbing report?”

Main Manager: “One of your trainees said you were calling unfair attention to Muslim people and felt it was discriminatory.”

Ops Manager: “I didn’t want to believe that about you but then I sat in on your orientation and you talked about Muslims and prayer time.”

Main Manager: “Yes. We have you on tape saying those things, so unfortunately we’re going to have to fire you.”

Me: “Fire me?! For WHAT?”

Main Manager: “Racism.”

Me: “What?!”

Main Manager: “Yes. The trainee felt you were deliberately pointing out who the Muslim students were and felt very uncomfortable about it and felt it was racist of you to do so. We have agreed with them. Please sign this dismissal agreement.”

(Pushes a dismissal paper towards me where I’m to acknowledge by signing that I’m being fired and why and that I would not be allowed to collect any unemployment benefits because of this. I’m so floored by all of this that I mutely sign, as it’s clear they won’t listen to me. Then they try to hurriedly hush me up and shove me out of the office. They allow me to get my things from my locker but I am forbidden to talk to anyone on my way out. I manage to tell one fellow trainer before I’m shut up and she’s shocked and dumbfounded as well, but they stop me again and make sure I get my things and leave the office. I’m left in the hallway by the elevator, just me and the Ops Manager.)

Ops Manager: “I’m sorry it happened this way. You were really very good and I know your trainees and coworkers really liked you. I did, too. If you need a reference letter, I’ll be glad to write you a good one.”

Me: *crying* “N-No, that’s o-o-okay. I just—”

(The elevator arrives.)

Ops Manager: “I’m sorry about this. You take care, okay? *pointedly waits for me to get into the elevator*

(I was so confused and traumatised by this, having worked for this company for six years and caused little trouble, that I didn’t pursue the issue legally in any way. I also didn’t take the Ops Manager up on his offer of a referral letter, considering what he just participated in against me. I DID make my case to the Unemployment Agency and they saw fit to authorize me to draw unemployment until I could get a new job.)

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