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Bus Driver Fired For Refusing To Take Patient To Planned Parenthood Gets $21,000 Settlement

Bus Driver Fired For Refusing To Take Patient To Planned Parenthood Gets $21,000 Settlement

Last year, when Austin bus driver Edwin Graning refused to drive a woman to Planned Parenthood because he was afraid she might be getting an abortion, Graning was fired for not doing his job.  The “ordained Christian minister” then filed a suit claiming he was discriminated against on the basis of his religion.

Now, rather than fight a protracted and likely expensive legal battle, the city has decided to settle and pay Graning $21,000.

Via Austin Legal:

Burnet County Commissioner Ronny Hibler, who is on the system board, said he believes Graning was rightfully fired.

“There’s a lot of things as a county commissioner that I don’t like, but I do it because it’s my job,” Hibler said.

Blanco County Commissioner Paul Granberg, who is also on the board, said he does not recall delving into the facts of the case when considering the settlement.

“The attorneys that were handling it made the decision basically,” Granberg said. “They advised the board that it would cost a lot more in attorney fees than it would cost to settle.”

Capital Area Transportation System General Manager David Marsh said because of Graning’s case, officials have begun making it clear when drivers are hired “that we have a job to do and we don’t decide what destinations are.”

Was this in fact a case of religious discrimination?  Graning did not actually know that the woman was getting an abortion – she could have been going into the clinic for any number of reasons.    In fact, Graning actually made up an entire backstory about calling the clinic to make sure that someone would be there when he arrived and learning that the clinic performed abortions, and he could not be a part of it, even though they never actually list abortions as one of their services

The company has made it clear that they do not see this settlement as an admission of wrongdoing, but simply an easier fiscal response than fighting the suit.  No doubt Graning and his lawyers assumed they would take that option, considering how little the settlement is in comparison to most wrongful termination and discrimination lawsuits.

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271 comments

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2:51AM PDT on May 18, 2012

It's a real shame to have a legal system so screwed up that it's better to pay off the guilty than to fight for what is right.
They were right to fire him and he should be liable to the woman he refused to transport. I hope she sues him and the city.

3:31AM PST on Nov 18, 2011

Why didn't the WOMAN get anything? They didn't fire him because of his religious beliefs, they fired him for not doing his job!

1:00PM PDT on Sep 20, 2011

THIS IS ABSURD!

Gee....I'm not driving your teenaged daughter to a theater because I'm afraid she might be seeing an X-rated show!

I'm not driving her to an OB/GYN's office because I'm afraid she might be getting birth control.

I refuse to drive YOU to a mosque because I think YOU might be a terrorist.

I'm refusing to drive YOU to a market because I'm Muslim and YOU might be buying pork!

When does this idiotic "defense" end?

I'm with Yvette---SUE THE DRIVER!

12:58PM PDT on Sep 20, 2011

THIS IS ABSURD!

Gee....I'm not driving your teenaged daughter to a theater because I'm afraid she might be seeing an X-rated show!

I'm not driving her to an OB/GYN's office because I'm afraid she might be getting birth control.

I refuse to drive YOU to a mosque because I think YOU might be a terrorist.

I'm refusing to drive YOU to a market because I'm Muslim and YOU might be buying pork!

When does this idiotic "defense" end?

I'm with Yvette---SUE THE DRIVER!

12:33PM PDT on Sep 20, 2011

I am wondering. Can the lady who was unable to make her appointment at Planned Parenthood sue the driver and the city for obstructing her rights as a citizen of that city who pays taxes, and therefore their wages to perform a public service? I think she can. Here are a few facts which everyone should keep in mind........
The ACLU is our nation's guardian of liberty, working daily in courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties that the Constitution and laws of the United States guarantee everyone in this country.
These rights include:
Your First Amendment rights - freedom of speech, association and assembly; freedom of the press, and freedom of religion.
Your right to equal protection under the law - protection against unlawful discrimination.
Your right to due process - fair treatment by the government whenever the loss of your liberty or property is at stake.
Your right to privacy - freedom from unwarranted government intrusion into your personal and private affairs.
And here is the number:212-549-2500
GO GET THEM, LADY!

12:16PM PDT on Sep 20, 2011

His job is simply to drive. He had no idea why she was going there. Planned parenthood does MUCH more than abortions. They provide general gynological services so she might have been going for her annual pap smear. He needs to mind his own business and that's driving. Why do people think they have a right to judge other people and make decisions for them???

12:00PM PDT on Sep 20, 2011

The bus driver's job is to drive his bus, and not make moral judgments. In this case, it really is far fetched because he hadn't a clue why the woman was even going to PP, or if she was even pregnant, or if the PP even did abortions at their facility. For all he knew, she might have just been going to get an annual exam! Plus he blatantly lied about calling the clinic--what a good Christian he is.

No, he should not have gotten a cent, and in fact, the city should have counter sued when he filed his lawsuit. Paying him off sets a bad precedent for people who think they can do whatever they want in the name of "religious faith" and then not have to face consequences.

Looking at some of the comments here, it seems that some people missed the boat. This case is not about abortion, but about a man who refused to do his job, lied in the process, because of some pre-conceived notion. And then he collected money no less.

What a pathetic story all around.

12:13PM PDT on Jun 6, 2011

Lulu L. There are NO babies in a pregnant woman's womb! Only a fetus, an embryo, that may evolve into something called a baby AFTER it is born. A woman has a right to her own body. Period. And no one else, no matter your beliefs are going to take that right away.
And as an addition. Lulu L. are you prepared to feed and cloth and pay for education for every unwanted child being born every where in the world? If, not, shut your food trap immediately!

11:39PM PDT on May 27, 2011

Abortion is murder! Killing innocent little babies who cannot protect themselves or speak for themselves is totally sinful. What has mankind come to! People think they have a RIGHT to hack to pieces their little unborn babies just because it's not wanted?!! It is horrific! I agree with the bus driver or anybody else trying to save a babies life. It boggles my mind to know human beings have fallen so far as to think it's their right to murder a baby! Someday, each of those who have fought for their "right" to murder babies will stand before the Creator, and answer for what they've done! I would not want to be in their shoes!!

3:26AM PDT on May 19, 2011

The bus driver is a good example of many Christians who talk the talk but refuse to walk the walk. Can you imagine their master saying " You must have this child whether you can love and care for it or not?" There is a new book out--From Fundamentalsm to Freedom--the driver might read that.

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