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Former Alaska Employee Claims Firing Came From “Woke” Culture

A former Alaska Airlines flight attendant has filed a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, accusing the carrier of firing her over opinions expressed on an internal forum. When the carrier backed the passage of the Equality Act, Lacey Smith claims asking a question led to her getting “cancelled.”

A former flight attendant claims her firing was directly related to “woke” culture at Alaska Airlines, and is filing a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission over the event. Lacey Smith and the First Liberty Institute have filed the brief with the agency, claiming her dismissal was a direct violation of her religious civil rights.

“As a company, do you think it’s possible to regulate morality?”

House Resolution 5 – better known as the Equality Act – was introduced to the 117th Congress in February 2021. According to the Center for American Progress, the bill would protect those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer or questioning (LGBTQ) from “discrimination in employment, housing, credit, jury service, and federally funded programs.” In the same month, Alaska Airlines announced they would join other companies in supporting the legislation.


After the carrier made the announcement, Smith claims she asked a single question about the support in an internal forum: “As a company, do you think it’s possible to regulate morality?” According to Fox News, another unidentified employee followed Smith’s question with another comment: “Does Alaska support: endangering the Church, encouraging suppression of religious freedom, obliterating women rights and parental rights? ….” Fox News reports despite the comments getting “several likes” from other employees, it was taken down.

Once her question was made public, Smith claims she and the other employee were fired from the company. The First Liberty Institute – which is representing her in the EEOC complaint – alleges that Alaska Airlines violated her religious civil rights.

“Lacey’s termination demonstrates the heavy hand woke corporate America wields over religious employees, as well as the devastating repercussions that can follow,” the institute writes on their webpage dedicated to the case. “The consequences for those who dare to violate the ‘acceptable’ speech codes set up by the corporate elite are extreme – it cost Lacey her whole career and dismantled her lifelong professional reputation.”

The airline’s code of conduct document notes that employees are expected to participate in a diverse and inclusive environment. The code states: “We don’t tolerate behavior that creates an unlawful hostile work environment, which means we don’t make derogatory jokes or slurs about our co-workers, use unwelcome gestures, or pass around offensive or rude emails, texts, or printed materials based on their status in a protected class.”

In an excerpt of the policy shared with Fox News, the carrier said they promote “healthy and honest discussions in the workplace on issues of diversity and inclusion.” Alaska has not directly commented on the allegations or complaint.

The Equality Act has passed the House of Representatives and is currently sitting with the United States Senate. It is unclear what recompense Smith is seeking from the EEOC and no decision has been made in the case.

Other Major Travel Brands Support Equality Act

Alaska Airlines is not the only major U.S.-based travel brand to support the Equality Act. According to the Human Rights Campaign, American Airlines, American Express, Delta Air Lines, JetBlue, JPMorgan Chase and United Airlines have all expressed support for the legislation.

Feature image courtesy: Alaska Airlines

Loose Cannon May 18, 2022

Update: First Liberty Institute filed lawsuit on behalf of the two Flight Attendants against both AS and the Union representing those Attendants. This will take some time.

Loose Cannon September 25, 2021

AS is acting in a way that is at best unethical when it solicits opinions from employees then turns around and terminates an employee that expresses an opinion that the leadership at AS does not consider to be "acceptable". I hope Lacey prevails and not only gets damages but I hope AS is ordered to reinstate her/

AS Flyer September 15, 2021

Nobody is “elevating” anyone. They’re simply working at making things equal. The problem for people like you ☝🏻 Is that you can’t stand that someone you don’t view as equal is making inroads to true equality. Nobody wants more, they just want the same but you don’t think they deserve it. . Terms like “woke” and “cancel culture” are just attempts to keep people from being equal by applying a negative connotation to it.

dbatl September 13, 2021

The woke culture will eventually wear its welcome out. If you fight for equality that means that everyone is the same, why elevate a group of people because they seem to be the darling right now. Just as they want you to agree with an opinion when you don't it's a problem. That's what happens when you keep pandering and trying to appease everyone. Soon you will have to address each and everyone of the 300+ million Americans to their beliefs and their feelings. Standards have been put in place so everyone can coexist in a cordial environment that means gay and people that are not. So if you believe one or the other it is still your right. If I believe gay isn't right that is an opinion and has nothing to do with hate. I can hate Vanilla ice cream but that doesn't mean that every store has to stop selling it and the people have to stop liking it.

MiscMel70 September 10, 2021

why do religious people want folks to "respect" their belief's when they don't respect other people's beliefs? It's ONLY because the fake religious culture can't stay out of grown folks business that this is even a thing. LBGTQRSTUV didn't start this. The "lets talk about morals while being morally bankrupt, evil, hateful, and biggoted" group did. Mind. Your. Business. And. Let. Folks. Live. I'm from an era and area of the US where these same moral/religious conscious types were PHYSICALLY and LEGALLY keeping Americans who are Black out of businesses and schools and treating us like animals (only come in the back door, don't use this fountain...I don't treat my dog like that). And while the pictures are in black and white to fool you, it was a mere 50 years ago. But church be FULL on Sunday yall. We're criticizing laws that are dumb then turn right around and read IN THE SAME ARTICLE about folks who would ABSOLUTELY deny other humans space at the table if they were not forced to do so. Because it offends THEIR morals...the other persons agency to exist be dammed. It's been in our lifetime that the government had to FORCE ENTIRE STATES to let Black folks walk on the dam sidewalk. People can't be trusted to do the right thing. That's why we have rules for every dang thing.