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 delivery.
CHICAGO – A federal jury in Peoria, Ill., has awarded $240,000 to two Somalian-American Muslims who were fired from their jobs as truck drivers at Star Transport, an over-the-road trucking company, when they refused to transport alcohol because it violated their religious beliefs, according to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which brought the case. The trial started on Oct. 19, and the jury returned its verdict the next day after 45 minutes of deliberation.
Judge James E. Shadid, the chief judge of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois, found in favor of EEOC after Star Transport admitted liability in March 2015. The resulting trial was to determine compensatory and punitive damages and back pay. The jury awarded Mahad Abass Mohamed and Abdkiarim Hassan Bulshale $20,000 each in compensatory damages and $100,000 each in punitive damages. Judge Shadid awarded each approximately $1,500 in back pay.
EEOC alleged that in 2009, Star Transport fired Mohamed and Bulshale after they were required to transport alcohol. Both men told Star Transport that they believed doing so would violate their religious beliefs under Islamic law.
EEOC also alleged that Star Transport could have but failed to accommodate the truckers’ religious beliefs, as required by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. Star Transport, Inc., No. 13-cv-1240) in U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois in Peoria in May 2013.
“EEOC is proud to support the rights of workers to equal treatment in the workplace without having to sacrifice their religious beliefs or practices,” said EEOC General Counsel David Lopez. “This is fundamental to the American principles of religious freedom and tolerance.”[Source:Press Release,EEOC.]
Let us see what Islam says on serving and consuming Alcohol:
There are a number of Hadiths which says that it is forbidden to drink and Sell Alcohol
- It is haraam to drink alcohol or to sell it, carry it or help with it in any way whatsoever, because Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“O you who believe! Intoxicants (all kinds of alcoholic drinks), and gambling, and Al‑Ansaab (stone altars for sacrifices to idols etc), and Al‑Azlaam (arrows for seeking luck or decision) are an abomination of Shaytaan’s (Satan’s) handiwork. So avoid (strictly all) that (abomination) in order that you may be successful”
- Al-Tirmidhi (1295) narrated that Anas ibn Maalik said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) cursed ten with regard to alcohol: the one who squeezes (the grapes etc), the one for whom it is squeezed, the one who drinks it, the one who carries it, the one to whom it is carried, the one who pours it, the one who sells it and consumes its price, the one who buys it and the one for whom it is bought.”
- Abu Dawood (3674) and Ibn Maajah (3380) narrated that Ibn ‘Umar said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Allaah has cursed alcohol, the one who drinks it, the one who pours it, the one who sells it, the one who buys it, the one who squeezes (the grapes etc), the one for whom it is squeezed, the one who carries it and the one to whom it is carried.” Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Abi Dawood. Volume 7, Book 69, Number 488:
- Narrated Anas bin Malik:I was serving Abu ‘Ubaida, Abu Talha and Ubai bin Ka’b with a drink prepared from ripe and unripe dates. Then somebody came to them and said, “Alcoholic drinks have been prohibited.” (On hearing that) Abu Talha said, “Get up. O Anas, and pour (throw) it out! So I poured (threw) it out.
Masha Allah the Muslim workers did not sacrificed their religious beliefs and stayed firm in their decision of not transporting Alcohol.
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- www.eeoc.gov › About EEOC › Newsroom › Press Releases
- Quran and Hadiths.