Thursday, April 28, 2011

Bus driver fired for refusing Planned Parenthood trip wins $21K settlement

by Kathleen Gilbert

Ed Graning

AUSTIN, Texas, April 26, 2011 ( - A Texas bus driver who was fired for refusing to drive a woman to a Planned Parenthood abortion facility has been awarded a $21,000 settlement, although he has been barred from seeking employment at his former position.

Kyle resident Ed Graning, 63, filed a federal suit against the Capital Area Rural Transportation System (CARTS) after his former employer terminated him for refusing to drive a woman to a local Planned Parenthood that he discovered performed abortions. The woman quickly received a ride from another bus.

Graning, a former pastor and grandfather of three, told in July that he felt acquiescing to the woman’s request was irreconcilable with his Christian faith.

“I’m a Christian ... I love the Lord and I’m not going to be a part of something like this,” he said.

Graning says that when he told his supervisor of his refusal, the latter replied, “Then you are resigning.” When Graning refused, the supervisor terminated him, even though Graning said he had had an otherwise spotless record at the company.

According to a report by the Austin American-Statesman Monday, officials with CARTS, a nine-county public transportation system, said they agreed to the settlement as a means of avoiding the cost of litigation, but Graning has been barred from seeking employment at CARTS.

At least one member on the CARTS board, Burnet County Commissioner Ronny Hibler, said he still supports the decision to fire Graning.

“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, according to the Statesman.

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