Last Friday’s standing-room only hearing before the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission was among the most dramatic I’ve witnessed. There was outrage – outrage not just from me as I declared the State Department “AWOL” in our quest to free an American Pastor, Saeed Abedini — a U.S. citizen — captured by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard […]
I am pleased to report the successful resolution to a lawsuit we filed last year on behalf of our client, Edwin Graning.
Graning was a driver for the Capital Area Rural Transportation System (CARTS), a transit company which provides transportation services to residents in nine Texas counties. Graning’s primary duty at CARTS was to drive passengers to medical facilities.
In January, 2010, Graning was assigned to drive a passenger to a Planned Parenthood clinic in Austin for an early morning appointment.
Concerned that that the passenger was seeking to have an abortion, Graning, an ordained Christian minister, called his supervisor and told her that he could not undertake the assignment in good conscience. The supervisor responded by saying, “then you are resigning.” Graning replied that he was not resigning; rather, that he “could not be a part of this.”
Graning then received a call from a dispatcher. After telling the dispatcher that he could not conscientiously drive the passenger to Planned Parenthood, she instructed Graning to return the bus to the yard.
Graning was then fired.
Last summer, we sued CARTS in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas. Our lawsuit is posted here. We alleged that firing Graning without even attempting to accommodate his religious beliefs was a violation of his rights under the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
I am happy to tell you that the case has now been successfully resolved. After a period of legal discovery, CARTS has agreed to pay Graning an amount which we believe fairly compensates the financial losses Graning suffered as a result of being fired.
This is not just a great resolution to Graning’s case, it’s an important victory for the rights of conscience everywhere. It sends the clear and unequivocal message that pro-life employees cannot be discriminated against based on their religious beliefs. It reminds employers that they cannot ignore or dismiss requests for religious accommodation by their employees.
Since day one, the ACLJ has been committed to defending the conscience rights of Christians in both the public and private sectors. The successful resolution in this case is but one more example of where our commitment has made a significant difference.