• June 18, 2010

[UPDATE:  Trial is set for August 24 according to today’s press release by plaintiffs’ counsel]

Defendants Celestica Corporation and Adecco USA sought summary judgment to defeat claimed violations of the Civil Rights Act and the Minnesota Human Rights Act arising out of their alleged failure to accommodate the needs of 21 Plaintiff Muslim workers and specifically their religious duty to pray fives times each day.

U.S. District Court Judge Patrick J. Schiltz (D. Minn.) held a lengthy hearing on March 19 and recently denied defendants motion for summary judgment, holding that a jury would need to decide, based on a “totality of the circumstances,” whether the proposed accommodations of Celestica and Adecco were reasonable.  

Judge Schiltz’s opinion includes some blunt critiques of the defendants’ arguments, saying that “the legal rule urged by defendants is utterly illogical” (and also irreconcilable with Eight Circuit precedent).  In addition, Defendant Adecco, a temporary-empoyment agency, moved for summary judgment because, it argued, it offered to reassign complaining workers from Celestica to another Adecco client.  Plaintiffs, however, take the position that Adecco is a “joint employer” with Celestica.  “Although the Court is skeptical that an employer and a temporary agency can be considered joint employers, defendants have not addressed this allegation in their motion for summary judgment.  In fact, defendants’ briefs at times read as though they concede that Adecco did have some control over the accommodations by Celestica…”

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