A federal panel said Monday that it believed Greeley meatpacker JBS Swift violated the civil rights of more than 100 Somali Muslims it fired last year after a walkout over religious differences at the height of Ramadan, Islam's holiest time.

The determination by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission comes exactly a year after hundreds of Somali workers left the slaughterhouse because the company wouldn't accommodate requests for prayer time.

A Swift spokesman said Monday that the EEOC determination was not unexpected but that the timing of the decision was "disappointing" as the meatpacker has worked to make "this year's Ramadan work out smoothly."

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