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Jury says men were fired because of their religion

Florida employers may not supposed to discriminate against employees based on a number of factors, including race, gender and religion. In many cases, employers are required to make reasonable accommodations to employees so long as doing so does not cause undo harm to the operation of the business. When two men complained that they were fired because of their religion, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission stepped in on their behalf.

The men claimed they informed the trucking company that employed them that their religious beliefs prevented them from handling or delivering alcohol. Instead of making a reasonable accommodation to the men, they claim the company fired them in 2009. The EEOC attempted to reach a settlement with the trucking company to no avail.

The EEOC filed a lawsuit against the trucking company in 2013. In March, the company admitted liability to an Illinois judge. The men were recently awarded $240,000 in damages, but the company has since gone out of business, which could make it difficult to collect on the judgment. An EEOC attorney on the case hopes that this verdict will send a message to other employers that discrimination will not be tolerated.

Employees should not have to fear that an employer can discriminate or terminate them based on their gender, the color of their skin or religious beliefs. Florida employees who believe that they are being discriminated against based on their religion, race or some other factor need to know that they have rights. Based on the circumstances, it may be appropriate to file a lawsuit against the employer seeking economic and/or non-economic damages.

Source: ABC News, "2 Muslim Drivers Win $240K Judgment in Discrimination Suit", Oct. 30, 2015

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