May 18, 2021

It’s Ok To Fire Bad Employees

USA Today reports that there seems to be an alcohol jihad occuring amongst the taxi drivers in Minnesota.

To sum up the story, muslim taxi drivers from somolia are refusing to fare airport passengers carrying alcohol due to religious beliefs. Since many of the airports flights are international, a lot of tourists have duty free acohol with them. Some people have reported waiting hours just to get a cab ride.

They can’t call another cab company because of the airport’s strict contract, and the cab company is afraid to fire the cabbies since they’re claiming religious beliefs.

It seems to me like this should be a non issue. It’s perfectly legal to carry unopened alcohol in a cab, and the cabbie’s job is to fare passengers. I think the cab company would be completely justified in firing these employes. After all, I’d surely be fired if I refused to do my job.

If they let this go, where will it stop? What would happen if this worked the other way and some cabbie refused to fare anybody carring the Koran, or refused to fare passengers to or from abortion clinics?

Freedom of religion doesn’t just give you the right to practice what you want, it also means that you can’t impose your religion upon others. If you don’t want to be around alcohol don’t be a cabbie. Nobody forced you to take this job, and if you’re uncomfortable performing ALL of it’s duties then do something else.

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About Ryan Jones

Ryan Jones is an SEO from Detroit. By day he works as a manager of SEO & Analytics at SapientNitro where his team performs SEO for Fortune500 clients. By night he's either playing hockey or attempting to take over the world with his own websites - which he would have already succeeded in doing had it not been for those meddling kids and their dog. The views expressed here have not been paid for and belong only to Ryan, not any of his employers or clients. Follow Ryan on Twitter at: @RyanJones, add him on Google+ or visit his personal website: www.RyanMJones.com

Comments

  1. I look at it this way… is it alright to fire a girl for NOT taking off her clothes at work? Most instincts will tell you, “that is not alright”, but then I ask, is it alright for the owner of a strip-club to hire that girl?

    My point is, you can agree with the working policies or disagree. That doesn’t change the fact that when you work for other people, you have to, if you will forgive the expression, “suck it up princess.” I wouldn’t take a job as a stripper and then complain when someone hollered at my naked buttocks. Because I agreed to those terms when I signed on for the job.

    Do I agree with strip-clubs in general? No. Do I feel that they have a right to fire anyone who doesn’t strip for them? Well… by definition of what they do, yes!

    It reminds me of a case in which a local businessman opened a strip club in a small town. The members of this small town cursed the government for allowing the club to open, and even tried to sue the owner for opening it up. The thing was, he was within zoning laws. In other words, whether or not you agreed with what he was doing, he was WELL within his rights to do so. Do I agree with strip clubs? Again, no. But just because I disagree with something doesn’t mean I can banish it. That’s kind of the POINT of freedom… you don’t have to AGREE with another person so long as you give them a space within which they can practice THEIR lifestyle.

    In my mind, cabbies must see a lot of shizznet they don’t want to see. People trying to have sex in the backseat, people puking, making rude comments… I wouldn’t be surprised if you told me that cabbies have to put up with a lot of people that try to wank the crank in between stops. Can a cabbie ask them to stop? Sure. Can a cabbie force them to get out of the cab if they don’t stop? Well, I’d have to say yes. But can a cabbie THEN turn around and say “I refuse to work this job because it is against my religion to see other people having sex?” Well, yeah… he can, but the point is that he’d be QUITTING at that point. You can’t strike and ask for the customer base to “behave” and then think its the company’s burden to ensure they do. You can ask that safe-guards be put in place so that you run into as few nasty situations as possible– hence safeguards for cabbie-safety– but really, you can’t truly ask more out of your employer than that.

    And one final point: if you are uncomfortable around alcohol, why in god’s name would you be a cabbie? Seriously… that’s one of the POINTS of cabs, so that people who, for whatever reason, drank too much don’t have to stumble their way home or drive and risk the lives of others. You might say, “I wish people wouldn’t drink”, but you should be THANKFUL that, if they are in your cab, that means they aren’t behind the freakin’ wheel!

    I’m a non-drinker. I personally think alcohol never did anyone any good, and is nothing but destructive. Will I quit my job if someone calls in intoxicated? That makes no sense! Could food service workers refuse to serve an intoxicated person food? I suppose, but it would only be ethical if (s)he was actually causing trouble.

    The reason I’m blabbering so much about this is because I can perfectly see people doing that… and thinking that their own ways of behaving should be the way all people behave. And yeah, I truly believe that nobody SHOULD drink alcohol, I do think it releases things that shouldn’t be released, but on the other hand, do you see me actively campaigning to shut down all production of booze?

    If people choose to drink, that’s their own business. If people choose to be devout anti-whatever-I-am, that’s their own business too. People have the freedom to believe anything that I disagree with. And I won’t burden them that, so long as they don’t step on my toes.

    For instance, I’m an avid believer in monogamy and purity… unless I feel it somehow hinders MY rights, I’m not going to begrudge anyone for practicing the opposite of those values. Bearing in mind that I still would not tolerate being cheated on MYSELF, and bearing in mind that I would not tolerate anyone threatening MY purity, but if someone is drinking alcohol and cheating, it is not going to affect MY relationship, nor is it going to hurt MY liver.

    There is a saying I heard recently that, while not exactly lucid, gets to what I’m talking about: “one person’s liberty ends where another begins.” The issue is a huge one, philosophically, even though it seems silly. The basic thing the cabbies are saying in this situation, “I feel that other people drinking affects my world. And that’s not right.” The issue I have is with that statement… they are in effect stating that behavior that has NOTHING to do with them affects them.

    Not to risk opening a can of worms, but to me, it is the same as saying that a cartoonist’s treatment of religious figures affects MY religious experience. I can agree or disagree with the cartoon… I can even say, “within my religion, it is a sin to depict” whatever have you. I CANNOT and SHOULD NOT say, “you are wrong to depict” whatever, unless I have the conditional “in my religion.” The laws of religion only are present for those within that religion. If you disagree with other people breaking those rules, then you have no choice but to ONLY be with people of YOUR religion. And that’s alright. But you have NO right to say that others have to adjust their religion or behavior in ANY way to suite your tastes.

    Some people believe in polygamy. I don’t. But that doesn’t mean I have any right to stop the behavior of other people, or to accuse them of being wrong by anything OTHER than my standards. While I understand that everyone feels their morality is the morality that should be universal, however good your intentions may be, your morality IS NOT the universal. Right and wrong CAN be black and white (it IS wrong to kill, it is right to pursue happiness) but each person is aware of their own conditions.

    Argument and philosophy help bridge that gap by allowing people a chance to have their arguments put on the table, have their conditions observed. And if humanity wants to be side by side, that is NECESSARY. But on the other hand, a failure to agree on something doesn’t mean EITHER side has to change. Drinkers are NOT necessarily obliged to stop drinking because I personally disagree with drinking. I can say, “your liver would thank you,” I can try to persuade them if I think it is worth it for them to avoid drinking, but in the end, how is it going to hurt MY liver if they drink?

    I’m using drinking as an example because many people have tried to convince me TO drink. And the same rules apply. And I went through a stage where I wanted to rid the world of alcohol, when I was overcoming my addiction to alcohol. But in the end, I ultimately abandoned the fight and haven’t even thought about it for years now, until this came up; and even then, I only think about it and laugh at myself. Because what the hell does it matter to me if everyone else believes anything about alcohol, be it that it is good for them (which I disbelieve) or that it is bad for them (which I believe)?

    And I ask you this, for all those who enjoy a casual or heavy drink every now and again… is my belief really going to stop you from having that drink? And really… if you truly believe that sucking back on a depressant gives you joy, do I even have a right to stop you? Sure, I can say it makes no sense… and I think that is inherent in mentioning that it is a depressant… but on the other hand, the question remains… what is it to me if you believe something that might be wrong? I might be wrong when I say that I believe juice is healthier than wine. And in order to believe that, I have to give you the freedom to believe that wine is healthier than juice. Considering “is it healthier?” is a yes or no question, one of us is wrong, the other is right. But unless we have undeniable evidence, isn’t it safe to say that it doesn’t really matter who believes what, so long as we will accept evidence for BOTH arguments as valid, and then choose for OURSELVES?

    You can’t force a person to believe in what you believe. Even if you think it is in their best interest. Because it isn’t RIGHT to do so. You can make suggestions, offer evidence… personally, I have better things to do than convince the cheating husband/murderer/kitty-kicker that he’s wrong. Even though I disagree with cheating, murdering, and kitty-kicking.

  2. These people weren’t drinking. Believe it or not, any business (including cab drivers) have the right to refuse to serve somebody who’s intoxicated.

    These people were merely transporting alcohol that they had purchased from the store.

  3. Wow… holy crap that makes it even worse! I assumed they had a problem with the CONSUMPTION of alcohol… I didn’t think anyone would be so high-strung as to have a problem with its sheer EXISTENCE or presence… I mean really…

    *sigh* people are weird. I understand why some people don’t like alcohol. I personally don’t like the stuff… but I’m not going to freak out if I stop by the mall and see someone exiting the liquor store with a bag of something.

    “Hey, get away from me with that bottle, you harlot evil kitten-kicking devil!”