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“Cancelled” Alaska Airlines Flight Attendants Sue Carrier

ORG XMIT: WADZ201 In this photo made Thursday, June 11, 2009, an Alaska Airlines airliner is pushed away from a gate at SeaTac Airport in SeaTac, Wash. Alaska Air Group Inc., operator of Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air, said Thursday. July 23, its second-quarter profit plunged 53.9 percent to $29.1 million as sales slipped 9.3 percent.(AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Two former Alaska Airlines flight attendants who claim they were dismissed from the carrier for their religious beliefs will take their grievances to court, seeking damages for unlawful termination.
A pair of former Alaska Airlines flight attendants who say they were “cancelled” by the airline will have their day in court, alleging their termination was unlawful.


Seattle Fox affiliate KCPQ-TV reports Marli Brown and Lacey Smith are suing both the carrier and the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA on a complaint that their firing was directly based on their Christian faith.


“Exemplary Flight Attendants” Accuse Airline of Religious Discrimination

The case of Brown and Smith first came to light in September 2021, when the conservative First Liberty Institute took their case to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The pair claimed they were targeted by the airline for their opposition to Alaska’s support for the federal Equality Act.


The 54-page complaint says Smith was compelled by her Christian faith to challenge the airline’s position on an internal company forum, which would protect members of the LGBTQ+ communities from discrimination. In her comment, she asked: “As a company, do you think it’s possible to regulate morality?” Brown followed up with her own comment, claiming supporting the act would “…force every American to agree with controversial government-imposed ideology on or be treated as an outlaw,” and “…would affect everything from girls’ and women’s showers and locker rooms to women’s shelters and women’s prisons, endangering safety and diminishing privacy.”


After a review by the U.S. EEOC, the pair were given permission to sue the carrier over their allegations. The lawsuit describes the two as “exemplary flight attendants” who were summarily dismissed for expressing opinions based on their faith.


“Despite Alaska Airlines’ claimed commitment to an inclusive culture and its frequent invitations to employees to dialogue and express a diversity of perspectives, Alaska Airlines created a work environment that is hostile toward religion, and AFA reinforced that company culture,” the lawsuit reads.” Alaska Airlines and AFA cannot wield their social advocacy as a sword to unlawfully discriminate against religious employees and instead must remain mindful of their legal obligation to ‘do the right thing’ towards all employees, including religious employees.”


The lawsuit is pending before the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington. Neither Alaska Airlines nor the AFA-CWA have commented on the case.


Alaska Continues to Champion Workforce Inclusivity

Despite the lawsuit, Alaska continues to promote themselves as a leader for workplace diversity. The company has a stated goal to improve diversity, equity and inclusion for all workers by 2025, while more recently announcing a move to create gender-neutral uniforms and offer frontline workers pins with their preferred pronouns.

AsiaTravel2019 May 31, 2022

Anyone who resists the march of wokism will be terminated. 

BMGRAHAM May 29, 2022

I can believe it. Although I didn't lose my job, I got into trouble for making a similar comment during an internal virtual conference at my company. Those who want to impose their views on one side are protected while those that want to express opposition are silenced. It's happening everywhere.

Sealink May 24, 2022

So Christians are fine with discrimination? (Apart from when they feel it is happening to them?)

N1120A May 23, 2022

Issuance of a right to sue letter is compulsory, regardless of whether the EEOC finds cause or not. 

flyingron May 23, 2022

"Allowed to proceed" just means that if they take the statement of facts as presented by the petitioners is true, then its not a guarantee of a win for the respondant.   It means that the merits of the case would half to be argued in the judicial process by both sides.