Two Muslims awarded $240,000 in US discrimination case

SHAFAQNA – A jury has awarded $240,000 to two Muslim men who say they were fired from an Illinois trucking company after refusing to deliver alcohol.

A judge found that Morton-based Star Transport Inc violated the religious beliefs of Mahad Abass Mohamed and Abdikarim Hassan Bulshale.

The trial to determine whether they were entitled to damages ended October 20 with the jury’s verdict, the AP news agency reported.

A 2013 lawsuit filed by US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said the men were fired in 2009 after they refusing to deliver alcohol because it was against their religious values as practising Muslims.

The lawsuit claimed the company did not provide them “with a reasonable accommodation” and terminated them “because of their religion”.

Chief US District Judge James Shadid had found in favour of the commission in March, after the company admitted liability.

June Calhoun, one of the commission’s attorneys on the case, said Star Transport did not provide discrimination training to human resources staff, leading to “catastrophic results” for the two men.

“They suffered real injustice that needed to be addressed,” Calhoun said in a statement.

“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 practises.”

The commission had tried to work with Star Transport on the issue a year before the lawsuit was filed, court records say.

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