A jury has awarded $240,000 to two Muslim truck drivers in a religious discrimination lawsuit, and Megyn Kelly is losing her mind. She just doesn’t seem to understand the difference between this case, and the cases of those poor, persecuted “Christian” bakers who don’t want to make cakes for same-sex weddings. This is another example of how the right takes a story with a grain of truth, and spins it beyond all recognition.
The backstory: In 2009, two Somali-American Muslim truck drivers were fired by their employer, Star Transport, for refusing to deliver alcohol. The men filed suit against Star Transport, saying that carrying alcohol was a violation of their religious beliefs. The federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) sided with the men. Last March, the company admitted guilt, and the men were recently awarded $240,000 in back wages and damages.
This has caused the most recent meltdown on the right. Megyn Kelly was almost beside herself on the October 26 edition of her Fox News show, The Kelly File, where she talked with Fox judge Andrew Napolitano about the case.
“The Obama administration actually represented the two Muslims in this case, but has sometimes taken a very different position in the cases of Christians trying to assert their religious beliefs,” she says.
Oh Megyn, Megyn, Megyn. You are smarter than this. There are things that are hard to explain, and things that are easy to explain. This is an easy one.
First of all, in the cases of those “Christian” bakers, it wasn’t the individuals who were being sued, it was the businesses. And they were being sued by clients for refusal of service. Sure, the media framed those cases to make it appear that it was the individuals involved who were being sued, but technically it was the business.
In this case, the truck drivers were suing their employer for failing to provide accommodations for their religious beliefs. What made things worse for Star Transport is that according to The Washington Post, the company had indeed provided accommodations in other instances by allowing drivers to swap loads, and the company admitted that it could have done so in this instance as well. So this wasn’t a fight over access to business services, but a dispute between employer and employees, which is why the EEOC was involved. In the case of the bakers, the EEOC would not have jurisdiction.
Employers can get exemptions from religious liberty protections by proving that those protections would cause a hardship to the business. In this case, Star Transport could not prove that the men’s request that they not be required to deliver alcohol was an “undue burden” because they had previously provided similar accommodations for other employees.
Here is the conversation between Kelly and Napolitano about the case. Napolitano is usually one of the crazier personalities on Fox News. But this time, after throwing Kelly and viewers a bone by questioning why the drivers took the job when they knew they would be delivering alcohol (Actually they didn’t know that. See above), he explains to Kelly why the case is different than the other cases she brings up.[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q7qnyxqbaus?rel=0]
Featured image via Fox News/YouTube