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Hertz Fires Muslims in Fallout Over Break Policy

A Ford Mustang returns to an Oakland, Calif., Hertz location on Monday, Sept. 12, 2005.

Hertz car rental company has fired more than two dozen Muslim workers at Seattle's airport in the northwestern U.S. state of Washington after they refused to clock out for breaks, during which they pray.

Hertz says 34 workers were suspended September 30 for failing to clock out. The company gave the workers until Thursday to sign a clock-out agreement or be terminated. Hertz says 26 workers were fired Friday, while eight agreed to abide by the clock-out policy.

The workers, who make less than $10 per hour, are responsible for refueling and cleaning rental vehicles at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

The union representing the workers says Hertz targeted Muslims, and has not applied the policy to people who take smoke breaks.

Hertz denies the claim, saying its focus was on workers who failed to return to work in a timely manner following breaks, and has nothing to do with religion.

The union has filed federal complaints that Hertz violated the legal and civil rights of workers.