1. Mooncatt's Avatar
    Most of us are familiar with the case of the bakers that were fined for following their religious beliefs and refusing to make a cake for a gay couple. Well this article came across my news feed today:

    https://cdllife.com/2015/featured/mu...-awarded-240k/

    Basically, two Muslim men were fired from their trucking company for refusing to haul a load of alcohol and the Equal Employment Opportunity CommIssion sued the company, resulting in a judgement against the company for violating their religious rights. The EEOC General Counsel was quoted:

    EEOC is proud to support the rights of workers to equal treatment in the workplace without having to sacrifice their religious beliefs or practices,” said EEOC General Counsel David Lopez. “This is fundamental to the American principles of religious freedom and tolerance.
    (Emphasis mine)

    Compared to the baker case, this brings up a number of questions. In both cases, a worker refused a service based on religious beliefs, but the outcomes are polar opposite. Why? Is it because of some conspiracy to remove Christianity and promote Islam? Doubtful, but I know the conspiracy theorists are out there and figured I'd get that one out of the way early. Or does it have to do with one being a business-to-public transaction but the other is B2B? Perhaps it's because one case involved employees but the other was the business owners? I could also see this as being no more than the government not having a clear understanding of its own rules and how to apply them. Or maybe it's a question of one right being more "right" than another? That, of course brings up a whole other debate.
    Scott7217 likes this.
    10-23-2015 06:31 PM
  2. anon(92475)'s Avatar
    I'm going to say because it was a business discriminating against employees. I haven't done any research at all, but it seems a likely cause.

    Posted via the Android Central App
    Scott7217 likes this.
    10-24-2015 08:59 PM
  3. Mooncatt's Avatar
    You may be right on that being the distinction, but I can't say for sure. The subject, I think, makes for an interesting thought exercise. Taking the idea that it's because it was employees instead of the owners this time, we now have a conflict. If religious freedom is a right for people to practice as they wish, then why should one group of people have that right stripped away? Rights should be enjoyed by everyone equally.

    If a constitutionally protected right can be removed so easily from one person but not another in similar situations, then one could argue it wasn't a right at all. Or, more likely, there's been a perversion of justice. The following article was originally written about Hillary Clinton's healthcare plan in 1993, but the overarching point is discussing the concept of our rights.

    https://ari.aynrand.org/issues/gover...is-Not-a-Right

    It's worth a read in the context of the two stories in my original post. Basically it describes how our rights are rights to action, not results. The right to free speech doesn't grant you a right to a captive audience. The right to have a gun doesn't give you the right to force someone to give it to you for free. The right to vote doesn't mean you're obligated to do so if you don't want to. Or one of my favorites, your right to throw a punch ends at the tip of my nose.
    Scott7217 likes this.
    10-24-2015 09:58 PM
  4. mogelijk's Avatar
    The idea of businesses is absolutely the correct answer. In the bakery case, it was the business accused of violating the gay couple's civil rights (per Oregon's Civil Rights accommodation laws), not the baker. So the cases are the same, in both cases it was the business that was violating the law. The reason it gets confused is that the bakery was a sole proprietorship -- the baker was the owner and sole employee.

    And just to note, the Oregon bakery was not fined for not serving the gay couple. Instead, it was the baker and her husband that were personally fined but not for refusing to make a cake. Instead, the fine was because they were found responsible for causing harassment against the gay couple, because they fought the case in the press over a several month period -- a time period the gay couple were receiving threats (including death threats) for making the civil rights complaint against the bakery.
    10-24-2015 10:17 PM
  5. Mooncatt's Avatar
    In the bakery case, it was the business accused of violating the gay couple's civil rights (per Oregon's Civil Rights accommodation laws), not the baker. So the cases are the same, in both cases it was the business that was violating the law.
    Let's change the scenario a bit. Since you said it was a business/employee difference, what if the bakery was owned by someone else and the couple were merely employees? Would they then be protected from action for refusing the gay wedding cake like the truckers with alcohol? Vice versa if the truckers owned their own company, would they now be subject to alcohol companies forcing them to take their shipments? This is where I say instead of getting lawsuit happy, we as a society need to learn to respectfully disagree and then take our business elsewhere.

    And just to note, the Oregon bakery was not fined for not serving the gay couple. Instead, it was the baker and her husband that were personally fined but not for refusing to make a cake. Instead, the fine was because they were found responsible for causing harassment against the gay couple, because they fought the case in the press over a several month period -- a time period the gay couple were receiving threats (including death threats) for making the civil rights complaint against the bakery.
    From what I've read, this claim is factually inaccurate, and based on media spin. Looking into why they were fined, outlets reporting on the issue pointed to a Raw Story article making the original claim the fine was for the media attention. Yes, the subject of the publishing of the gay couple's personal info did come up in the hearing, but that information became public as part of the complaint filing, leaving all parties open to potential harassment. The agency representing the gay couple did try to get damages awarded for this, but the commissioner explicitly denied that claim and only awarded for the denial of service. To have awarded harassment damages would have meant the end of free speech if it was upheld. Had the bakers been speaking to incite violence, then you would have had a case.
    10-25-2015 07:56 AM
  6. mogelijk's Avatar
    Let's change the scenario a bit. Since you said it was a business/employee difference, what if the bakery was owned by someone else and the couple were merely employees? Would they then be protected from action for refusing the gay wedding cake like the truckers with alcohol?
    Very possibly, though it depends on what other bakers the business has hired. The law requires "reasonable religious accommodations", basically it needs to be something the business can do without causing harm to the business. For example, retail businesses have typically not been required to give Sundays off, even if a person believes it is wrong to work on Sundays; though this will depend on the employees and area the business is in. In most cases, there are a number of Christians working in a store who have similar beliefs about working on Sunday, therefore it is not possible for the business to give them all Sunday off without harming the business (requiring extra employees or closing on Sundays). Instead, typically the business is only required to ensure they are able to attend their church services on Sunday. Of course, if the business has a lot of Jewish or Muslim employees -- such as being in a Jewish area of a city -- then an employee who believes working Sunday is a sin should be able to get Sundays off, since the employer should easily be able to make the accommodation. Of course, a Jew or Muslim wanting the off Friday Night/Saturday Day, for their Sabbath, can typically be accommodated in most areas of the US, since for most Americans Sunday is their "Sabbath".

    To use this in the above case, it would depend on the bakery having more than one baker, as well as not having all bakers object on religious grounds. If there is another baker that would make the cake, then the business would be required to have that baker make the cake to accommodate the religious beliefs of the other bakers. The same is true of the trucking company; since they have other drivers that don't have the religious objections that can handle those runs, the trucking company is required to accommodate the Muslim's beliefs.

    Vice versa if the truckers owned their own company, would they now be subject to alcohol companies forcing them to take their shipments?
    As for the Muslims owning the trucking company, they likely would not be required to transport alcohol because there is likely no legal requirement for them to. It is Civil Rights Accommodation laws that require a business to treat all customers equally based on civil rights protected classes (race, national origin, ethnicity, gender, religion, etc.).

    Since the Muslims would be refusing to transport any alcohol, they would not be treating customers differently. This is no different than trying to order a steak in a vegetarian restaurant, they aren't discriminating against you because they don't serve meat to anyone. By contrast, the baker made wedding cakes but was refusing to make one because of the sexual orientation (covered under Oregon Law) of the customers, the customers were not being treated equally.

    Additionally, alcohol companies don't belong to a protected class, so civil rights accommodation laws do not apply. The only way they'd apply is if the group wanting the alcohol shipped is part of a protected class. For example, if the Catholic Church was transporting sacramental wine to their dioceses; they would belong to a protected class (religion). However, in this case, point one comes back into play -- they wouldn't transport any alcohol for anyone -- so refusing the Catholics would not be religious discrimination but, rather, is just not a service they offer.

    This is where I say instead of getting lawsuit happy, we as a society need to learn to respectfully disagree and then take our business elsewhere.

    From what I've read, this claim is factually inaccurate, and based on media spin. Looking into why they were fined, outlets reporting on the issue pointed to a Raw Story article making the original claim the fine was for the media attention. Yes, the subject of the publishing of the gay couple's personal info did come up in the hearing, but that information became public as part of the complaint filing, leaving all parties open to potential harassment. The agency representing the gay couple did try to get damages awarded for this,...
    To clear up some misconception, let me point out that the person (or couple) claiming to be discriminated against is not filing a lawsuit -- if there is a lawsuit, it is the government filing it to enforce the law. Civil Rights laws are enforced differently than criminal laws, with governmental agencies enforcing the law. Exact enforcement varies by state (at least in terms of state laws), in some cases the agency uses the courts to enforce their rulings, in other cases the accused, who was found guilty by the agency, may go to court to appeal the ruling.

    So, in the Oregon bakers case, the gay couple submitted a complaint to the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) who enforces the Civil Rights laws in Oregon. BOLI did not represent the gay couple, they investigated the denial of service complaint that was made, determined the complaint was valid, and then recommended the action that should be taken. The commissioner of BOLI then reviewed the facts of the case, the recommendations made, and then wrote and issued a final ruling.

    ...but the commissioner explicitly denied that claim and only awarded for the denial of service. To have awarded harassment damages would have meant the end of free speech if it was upheld. Had the bakers been speaking to incite violence, then you would have had a case.
    The final ruling is rather interesting, and you are wrong about the judgement being for denial of service. Yes, the Commissioner directly pointed out that there was no penalty for the Klein's going to media to air their complaints and, as you point out, that is a good thing. Instead, the judgement was for harassment; and based solely on the actual pain and suffering that occurred. At the same time, the Commissioner points out that the media attention the Klein's caused did increase the amount of pain and suffering due to harassment the gay couple suffered. So, while the Kleins were not punished directly for causing the media attention; the media attention increased the amount of harassment, which increased the judgement against the Kleins.

    There was no fine for not baking the cake, in fact the commissioner in the ruling states that, "Any damages awarded do not constitute a fine or civil penalty, which the Commissioner has no right to impose in a case like this. Instead, any damages fairly compensate RBC and LBC for the harm they suffered and which was proven at hearing." A good comparison is to compare this case with the Masterpiece bakery case in Colorado, again a case where a bakery refused to make a cake for a gay wedding. In that case, there was no judgement against the baker as it was felt the gay couple did not suffer from harassment; it likely helps the baker did not plead his case in the media. Instead the penalty required all employees to be trained on the law and to serve all customers, as well as submitting quarterly reports detailing any customers he refused to serve.
    10-25-2015 03:20 PM
  7. Mooncatt's Avatar
    As for the Muslims owning the trucking company, they likely would not be required to transport alcohol because there is likely no legal requirement for them to. It is Civil Rights Accommodation laws that require a business to treat all customers equally based on civil rights protected classes (race, national origin, ethnicity, gender, religion, etc.).

    Since the Muslims would be refusing to transport any alcohol, they would not be treating customers differently. This is no different than trying to order a steak in a vegetarian restaurant, they aren't discriminating against you because they don't serve meat to anyone. By contrast, the baker made wedding cakes but was refusing to make one because of the sexual orientation (covered under Oregon Law) of the customers, the customers were not being treated equally.
    So then you think people are allowed to negate someone else's rights if the supposed victims are part of a protected class? That what it's sounding like, which is not how it should work. Rights are independent of each other, meaning the exercising of your right doesn't mean you should be able to compel someone else to take part or give up their rights to accommodate. So we have a huge problem if this is the case.

    And if the Muslims in the hypothetical ownership case are ok denying all alcohol loads for the reasons you stated, then that would be no different than the bakers saying something to the effect of only making straight wedding cakes and that the gay couple could have got one with a man and woman topper like all their other wedding cakes. I'm willing to bet they had no same sex decorations, so I guess that should have been how they defended their case. After all, they wouldn't be treating the gay couple any differently; they would be selling their normal product/service to the gay couple.
    10-25-2015 04:44 PM
  8. mogelijk's Avatar
    So then you think people are allowed to negate someone else's rights if the supposed victims are part of a protected class? That what it's sounding like, which is not how it should work. Rights are independent of each other, meaning the exercising of your right doesn't mean you should be able to compel someone else to take part or give up their rights to accommodate. So we have a huge problem if this is the case.
    I'm telling you how the law works in an attempt to answer your questions, I haven't gotten into how I feel about things. As for rights, the victims only override the "rights" of the business, per se, though it does get messier in real life. The idea here is that the business does not have a religious belief, even though its owner might. And, as I pointed out, the employees are given protections for their religious rights -- again, regardless of any "rights" of the business or the views of the owner of the business.

    It is also likely worth pointing out the reason these laws exist -- which is that businesses refusing to help members of "protected classes" used it as a way to try and drive people of that class out of various communities. And, yes, while it is mostly Blacks (and even various ethnic groups or members of some religions) we are talking about, it has happened to gays as well. It is part of the reason there are "gay areas" of many cities -- often it was the only area, typically in a poor, "ghetto," area, where gays could buy/rent a home or apartment.

    On top of that, part of the reason there aren't greater religious exemptions is because of the history of these laws. When first passed, many business owners tried to claim they couldn't help customers of other races because of their religious beliefs. Whether they were actual religious beliefs or not doesn't really matter, unless you want the courts determining the validity of religious beliefs.

    Having said all this, there are ways the baker could have filled the order and not baked the cake. For example, they could find a home baker that does good work and use them on a contract basis, not as an employee, to bake the cakes that the baker has an issue with or even doesn't have time to make (such as having too many orders). They could also contract with another bakery to make cakes in the same type of situations. Last, what would likely work as well as anything, agree to make the cakes but state upfront (with signs and maybe even a mention on the order) that any proceeds from a cake baked for a gay wedding will be donated to the National Organization for Marriage, or other "anti-gay" rights group.

    And if the Muslims in the hypothetical ownership case are ok denying all alcohol loads for the reasons you stated, then that would be no different than the bakers saying something to the effect of only making straight wedding cakes and that the gay couple could have got one with a man and woman topper like all their other wedding cakes. I'm willing to bet they had no same sex decorations, so I guess that should have been how they defended their case. After all, they wouldn't be treating the gay couple any differently; they would be selling their normal product/service to the gay couple.
    And actually, this is more or less how the law works. You can't claim not to make "gay wedding cakes" because, honestly, there is typically no real difference between a "straight wedding cake" and a "gay wedding cake." As an example, here is the Sweetcakes by Melissa website ( the "Oregon baker") and you can see their wedding cakes -- most of them have nothing denoting the gender of the couple. In fact, a couple of them seem like they may be close to what a gay couple may want.

    The topper of a couple would be different, and chances are the bakery would not be required to provide that, but most wedding cakes I've seen don't use those toppers. Going back to the link above, only one or two of the sample wedding cakes had a male/female topper.

    In the case of the Masterpiece Bakery in Colorado, this issue was brought up by the judge. The facts of the case state that the baker saw the two men, heard it was for "their" wedding, and immediately refused to make the cake. The judge, in his decision, actually stated that was why he found against the baker, because he refused based on who the couple was (homosexual) and would not supply them with a cake he would make for other customers. If, instead, the baker would have learned how they wanted it designed, then he could have refused if it wasn't a design he would not make for other customers. Based on the description of what the gay couple says they wanted, the baker likely could have legally refused to decorate the cake that way.

    The opposite example of how the law works is the person who wanted an "anti-gay" cake, with decorations against homosexuality. In this case (which again was a Christian baker) agreed to make the cakes but not to decorate it the way the customer wanted. In fact, the baker not only agreed to make the Bible-shaped cakes but even said she'd provide the frosting bags, frosting, and tips, so that the customer could add the decorations himself. In this case, it was ruled the baker obeyed the law since she treated the customer equally -- the decoration was one she would not make for any customer.
    Scott7217 likes this.
    10-25-2015 05:47 PM
  9. Scott7217's Avatar
    Well this article came across my news feed today:

    https://cdllife.com/2015/featured/mu...-awarded-240k/
    That's an interesting case. There are two points that come to mind.

    First, Star Transport (the trucking company) had a history of letting drivers swap assignments. So, if one driver didn't want to haul a particular load, the company had no problem letting another driver do it instead. It only became an issue when two Muslim employees were involved, which is the reason why the trucking company lost.

    Second, Star Transport is out of business, so it doesn't look like anyone is going to pay for damages because the company doesn't exist anymore.
    10-25-2015 09:04 PM
  10. Scott7217's Avatar
    And just to note, the Oregon bakery was not fined for not serving the gay couple.
    The case is on appeal, so things may change.
    10-25-2015 09:28 PM
  11. mogelijk's Avatar
    The case is on appeal, so things may change.
    I'll agree, you can never be certain what the courts will do. OTOH, the case law here is well established; I really don't expect an appeal to change the decision.
    10-25-2015 10:41 PM

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