Court rules in favor of Muslim drivers who refused to haul alcohol

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A federal court has awarded two Somali-American Muslim truck drivers $240,000 after they were fired for refusing to transport alcohol, saying it violates their religious beliefs. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission brought a lawsuit on behalf of the truckers.

The drivers, Mahad Abass Mohamed and Abdkiarim Hassan Bulshale, drove for trucking company Star Transport. Judge James E. Shadid found in favor of EEOC after Star Transport admitted liability in March 2015.

The trial was to determine compensatory and punitive damages and back pay. The jury awarded Mohamed and Bulshale $20,000 each in compensatory damages, and $100,000 each in punitive damages. Judge Shadid awarded each approximately $1,500 in back pay.

The EEOC alleged that Star Transport fired the drivers in 2009 after they were required to haul alcohol. Both men told the company they believed doing so would violate their religious beliefs under Islamic law. EEOC also alleged that Star Transport could have but failed to accommodate their religious beliefs.