Truck Drivers Win $240,000 in Religious Discrimination Suit After Refusal to Deliver Alcoholic Beverages

Two former truck drivers requested religious accommodation to refrain from delivering alcoholic beverages based on their Muslim Faith in 2009. The employer rejected the assertion and fired the drivers, leading to a lawsuit that recently culminated in a $240,000 (plus back pay) verdict in favor of the two employees. The jury found that the employees’ request for accommodation would not have imposed undue hardship on the business.

Important to the jury’s finding, the company admitted that the employees frequently switched assignments, which provided clear evidence that it would have been reasonable to accommodate the drivers’ request, rather than terminate their employment.

Religious Discrimination Lawsuits Gaining Prevalence

This lawsuit is the most recent in a string of anti-Muslim and faith-based discrimination lawsuits in the employment law arena. These suits have brought to light the need for employers to conduct full-scale training courses to ensure that managers are well educated in the law and how it applies to situations involving requests for accommodation. All too often employers are quick to reassign or terminate employees who make religious requests that do not conform to the beliefs the managers hold, or seem to impose difficulty on schedule making or other day-to-day operations.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and state fair employment laws prohibit discrimination in employment decisions based on sincerely held religious beliefs. As part of the anti-discrimination laws, employers are required to accommodate reasonable requests that do not impose undue hardship on the business (a difficult standard to pass). Because the law protects even unconventional religions, employers are often faced with the difficult decision of accommodating an unorthodox request or facing a lawsuit.

Syntrio’s Training Courses Prepare You for the Unexpected

Syntrio’s discrimination and harassment training courses provide time-sensitive and cost-effective religious discrimination training through real-life and hypothetical situations that your managers can relate to. After providing a foundation in the law and a framework for how these types of cases arise, your managers will view a series of vignettes and some text-based scenarios illustrating nuances in the law that can lead to costly lawsuits. After doing so, your managers will be better prepared to make the tough calls on religious and other accommodation requests, and reduce the likelihood that the company will face liability and wind up in court.

Syntrio is committed to helping employers avoid the costly mistakes (and costly litigation) that are associated with complicated areas of employment law. We are also able to custom-tailor our courses to fit the needs of your business.  Contact www.syntrio.com for more information about our prevention of discrimination in the workplace courses for management and remember to follow us on TwitterGoogle Plus and LinkedIn for daily updates on employment law and compliance issues that impact your company!

 

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