Muslim wins beer delivery case

Gov’t Accused of Favoritism After Muslims Win Beer Delivery Case

By Dwight Burdette (Own work) [CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
By Dwight Burdette (Own work) [CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Obama administration criticized for standing up for Muslims, but not Christians.

Mahad Abass Mohamed and Abdkiarim Hassan Bulshale, both Somali-American Muslims, have been awarded $240,000 as compensation and back pay after they were fired in 2009 following their refusal to transport alcohol.

Fired for Not Delivering Beer, Muslim Drivers granted $240,000[/tweetthis]

They were represented by the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), acting on behalf of the Obama administration, in the US District Court for the Central District of Illinois. It was pointed out during the trial that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 mandated employers accommodate their employees' religious beliefs as long as it did not result in undue hardship upon the business. Star Transport admitted that they could have switched the drivers' schedules instead of firing them.

Chief Judge James E. Shadid upheld the plea of the plaintiffs, and a jury then took 45 minutes to determine the amount of compensation – $100,000 in punitive damages and $20,000 in compensatory damages to each of the drivers. This is in addition to the $1500 in back pay awarded by Judge Shadid, who was nominated to the post by U.S. President Barack Obama in 2010. Commenting on the verdict, Bulshale said it made him feel proud to be an American.

While this as a case of religious discrimination would not normally have made the headlines, it did so when Judge Andrew Napolitano, formerly of the New Jersey Superior Court, made an appearance on The Kelly File broadcast on the Fox News Channel, and wondered why the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission chose to take sides in this matter, terming it unfortunate that the federal government had to choose one religion over the other. He added that the drivers knew what their job would entail even before they signed up.

Megyn Kelly, a former attorney who hosts the show, specifically highlighted how the same protection at the workplace was not afforded to Kim Davis, the Rowan County Clerk who was jailed for not issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, and private bakers who have been put to hardship for their refusal to bake wedding cakes for gay marriages. Kim Davis is a Christian.

Kelly said that those who had told Kim Davis that she should resign if she couldn't do what was required of her ought to be saying the same thing to people of other faiths. According to Eugene Volokh, a Professor of Law with the University of California at Los Angeles, the United States Civil Rights Act does not approve of workers resigning when their personal beliefs clash with their job responsibilities.


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