Last month, it was a Muslim flight attendant who sued her airline after it suspended her for refusing to serve booze. This month it’s two Muslim truck drivers, except in this case, handling booze — which is forbidden under Islamic law — was pretty much their entire job description.
The pair, Mahad Abass Mohamed and Abdkiarim Hassan Bulshale, had the backing of the federal government in their religious discrimination lawsuit against their former employer, who rightfully terminated them for refusing to make beer deliveries.
The Washington Examiner notes that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission won $240,000 in damages to the former drivers, both of Somali heritage, who were fired in 2009.
The EEOC said that Star Transport Inc., a trucking company based in Morton, Ill., violated their religious rights by refusing to accommodate their objections to delivering alcoholic beverages.
“EEOC is proud to support the rights of workers to equal treatment in the workplace without having to sacrifice their religious beliefs or practices,” EEOC General Counsel David Lopez announced Thursday. “This is fundamental to the American principles of religious freedom and tolerance.”
The EEOC argued that Star Transport could have easily reassigned the men to other jobs, but the reverse argument — that Mohamed and Bulshale could have just as easily sought employment in an area that doesn’t compromise their religious principles — is no less valid.
The jury awarded Mohamed and Bulshale $20,000 each in compensatory damages and $100,000 each in punitive damages. The judge awarded each about $1,500 in back pay.
Bulshale said following the judgment, “This case makes me proud to be American.” Really? What would he know about that?