August 04, 2004

FL woman fired from Muslim-owned firm for eating a BLT

A Catholic woman was fired from a Muslim-owned firm in Central Florida for eating "unclean meat."

Lina Morales was hired as an administrative assistant at Rising Star -- a Central Florida telecommunications company with strong Muslim ties, Local 6 News (WKMG-TV/DT Orlando) reported.

However, 10 months after being hired by Rising Star, religious differences led to her termination.

Morales, who is Catholic, was warned about eating pizza with meat the Muslim faith considered "unclean," Local 6 News reported. She was then fired for eating a bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich, according to the report.

"Are you telling me they fired you because you had something with ham on it?" Local 6 News reporter Mike Holfeld asked.

"Yes," Morales said.

They'd have major problems trying to hire anyone from around here. And me? I make a mean pork roast over a wood fire.

Posted by mhking at August 4, 2004 10:24 PM

Hi: Like your blog; been reading for a few weeks. I have 2 points I'd like to make. I am a conservative Berean Christian who looks into things rather than eat whatever is served from the pulpit (pun intended)

1) What if an employer fires someone for adultery, fornication, homosexuality, blasphemy, etc.? I don't know how I feel on that. Doesn't an employer have that right?

2)The Real scriptures (the Bible) also contain prohibitions against eating certain foods. Why? IMHO, this will be a topic of increasing interest the closer and closer we get to the Lord's return.

But why the prohibitions from the true God? I believe that certain animals were not made to be eaten. They have purposes other than food for man. Pre-Christ, certain animals could not be eaten, but post-Christ they can be eaten. This is the common teaching of Christianity. (Personally, I know that I am not under the law, but I also know that sin is still transgression of the law)

The reasoning behind unclean meats now becoming clean come from a misunderstanding of the law. At its foundation, it's as if God created animals and then arbitrarily, as some kind of punishment?, said Eat this, Don't eat that. But don't we know that the law was given as a handbook so to speak, as to what is for the benefit of man, and what will harm man?

This is really just some food for thought for the thoughtful Christian, who maybe has never considered such things. There is a lot of evidence concerning the detrimental health effects of eating unclean meats.

I will leave you with one last comment. Eating shrimp is called an abomination by God. This is a characterization, not a prohibition (although there is also a prohibition in the same verse). But calling something an abomination is a characterization; as in God hates such and such. We all have no problem with homosexual sex being considered an abomination in the eyes of God. But that is an OT characterization as well. Hmmmm.

Posted by: aj at August 4, 2004 11:42 PM

Thanks for coming by - I appreciate the support.

On your first point, I suppose if the issue were explicitly stated as a condition of employment, then the company would certainly have the right to terminate someone for that. I used to work for CNN. A condition of employment with Turner Broadcasting properties is a prohibition on smoking. That point was well established, and no secret made of it.

It appears here that while there was a company culture that discouraged the eating of pork-based products, it was not explicitly stated as a condition of employment -- and that will get this woman a win in court.

I'm not comfortable with that sort of prohibition, but provided they spelled it out (and didn't break the law in the process), then I would suggest that they were within their right to do so.

Posted by: mhking at August 4, 2004 11:53 PM

I can share a brief story on this topic. I was working overseas and made a trip to a company office in Malaysia. It was a first class set up. So I opted to eat lunch in and sat in the coffee room with some local Malays, they offered some coffee, and pulled out some kind of electric water boiler. I asked her, how come an office this classy doesn't have a microwave? She said, " Oh! We had a nice one but we threw it out last week because someone put pork in it!". She did roll her eyes a bit but that is reality in a Muslim culture.

Posted by: Vanyogan at August 4, 2004 11:56 PM

I have a hard time trusting anyone who doesn't like a good helping of bacon.

Posted by: Beck at August 5, 2004 04:07 AM

Mr. King, though I'm no lawyer, I think a company with a rule based on *religious* reasons prohibiting eating pork would not stand in court. Aren't there federal laws forbidding discrimination based on race, gender, and religion?

After all, if aj were to run a company and fired someone simply because the firee were Muslim and not Christian, I guarantee you *someone* would be screaming it was religious discrimination.

That's essentially what happened in Ms. Morales's case: She was not a Muslim. If she were, she wouldn't be eating pork, but since she was, she wasn't a Muslim. Ergo, she's outta there.

If your theoretical prohibition against pork were based on health reasons, as CNN's prohibition on smoking was/is (though I can't imagine a reasonable health reason specifically for pork), then I think there might be cause for dismissal. But in this case--I hope Ms. Morales sues the beard and burka off of Rising Star.

Posted by: LCVRWC at August 6, 2004 07:54 AM

I apologize: I forgot to ask if you'd be posting your pork roast recipe & technique anytime soon. I'm always looking to improve my grill/barbecue techniques. :~)

Posted by: LCVRWC at August 6, 2004 07:55 AM

Keeping all things fair, I'd say let them fire her, if that means Christian organization or business can retain the right to decide who works for them. But allowing double standards to the detriment of Christians is unacceptable.

Posted by: Andy at August 8, 2004 12:34 AM

Superb weblog, Mr. King.
This could be a very interesting court battle. I think it is important to learn whether she consumed the BLT AT work, or simply elsewhere. I support the employers right to keep pork products off of their premises, the same way a kosher deli might. But if a court rules FOR the company, it provides a HUGE precedent for religious discrimination. Hopefully Morales will prevail.

Posted by: AKS at August 9, 2004 08:40 PM

I'm a former employee of Rising Star and when you go for orentation they tell you we are a muslim friendly company and we do not allow pork in the facility. Please tell me why she accepted the position? If this was truly against her belief's and her right to free speech why did she take the position? Do we all know that she
1. Accepted the position
2. Was given a Verbal Warning
3. Was Given a written warning
4. In the kitchen in from of muslims heated bacon in the microwave and sat down and ate it.

Please explain why a private business owner cannot have the right to make rules, is anyone complaining about Florida Hospital as a pork free facility. Morales knew the rules and broke them on three occasions. KOOGE has rights and RSTI was accomidating to all of it's employees. She did not mention that on her interview.

Posted by: jen at August 10, 2004 08:50 PM

If it was a church, temple or mosque, they would have the right to fire because of religious differences. Since it is a public business, it is illegal to discriminate on the basis of religion.

Florida Civil Right Act 760.10
It is an unlawful employment practice for an employer:
To discharge or to fail or refuse to hire any individual, or otherwise to discriminate against any individual with respect to compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual's race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, handicap, or marital status.
Exemptions: Less than 15 employees.

In other news, a suburb of Detroit, a mosque was allowed to announce calls to prayer in Armaic. I can't wait until the Catholic, Baptists, Presbyterians and Pentacostals ask for equal rights. Just think at 6AM you could have 500 churchs playing church bells and hymns.

Posted by: Robert at August 11, 2004 04:47 AM

hmmm, that made me think (plenty of food for thought there).

Posted by: Barbecue Grills Online at September 12, 2004 03:43 PM
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