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Tipsheet

ICYMI: Fired Muslim Truck Drivers Who Refused to Deliver Beer Over Religious Beliefs Win Lawsuit

Christian photographers have had to close up shop, Christian bakers have been slapped with hefty fines, a county clerk was thrown in jail, and the list goes on and on and on when it comes to how Christians have been treated when they refused to involve their businesses in any way with what could be considered support of same-sex marriage, a violation of their religious beliefs.

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It’s interesting, then, to see how an Illinois jury ruled when it came to a case involving two Muslim truck drivers who were fired from their jobs in 2009 for refusing to make beer deliveries because of their religious beliefs.

An Illinois jury awarded $240,000 in damages and back pay to two former truck drivers who claimed religious discrimination when they were fired in 2009 after refusing to make beer deliveries.

A jury was convened to determine damages after US District Court Judge James E. Shadid ruled in favor of Mahad Abass Mohamed and Abdkiarim Hassan Bulshale when Star Transport admitted liability in March. The men, both of whom are Somali-American Muslims, were represented by the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission(EEOC).

Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, employers must make accommodations for workers' religious beliefs unless doing so would impose "undue hardship" on the business.

As UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh explained to The Washington Post, the trucking companyadmitted that drivers often switched their assignments, meaning it would have been reasonable to accommodate the men's request, rather than firing them.

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"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."

EEOC Supervisory Trial Attorney Diane Smason’s remarks were equally enthusiastic. 

“We are pleased that the jury recognized that these - and all - employees are entitled to observe and practice their faith, no matter what that might be,” she said.

Just as long as they don’t involve gay marriage and are held by Christians, right?

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