Decorative Scales of Justice in the CourtroomWritten by Don Byrd

The EEOC today announced that a jury in Peoria, Illinois awarded $240,000 to two Muslim truck drivers who were fired because they refused for religious reasons to transport alcohol. The commission brought the suit, claiming the trucking company, Star Transport, could have accommodated the employees’ objection but refused.

From the press release:

[EEOC trial attorney June] Calhoun said, “This is an awesome outcome. Star Transport failed to provide any discrimination training to its human resources personnel, which led to catastrophic results for these employees. They suffered real injustice that needed to be addressed. By this verdict, the jury remedied the injustice by sending clear messages to Star Transport and other employers that they will be held accountable for their unlawful employment practices. Moreover, they signaled to [plaintiffs] Mr. Mohamed and Mr. Bulshale that religious freedom is a right for all Americans.”

Smason stated, “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.”

Bulshale commented, “This case makes me proud to be American.”

As proud as the outcome can make us all, the case also serves as a reminder of the continuing problem of religious discrimination in the workplace. Accommodation is not just a kind and understanding way to run a business. It’s the law.