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Fired Christian airline attendants claim religious discrimination in lawsuit

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Alaska Airlines flight attendants Marli Brown and Lacey Smith were terminated after expressing concerns about the company’s support for the Equality Act, citing religious liberty and potential impacts on their beliefs.

Represented by legal counsel, they filed a lawsuit against the airline and the flight attendants’ union.

Smith said, “I went to access my schedule in the morning … I saw that Alaska had posted an article that just said Alaska supports the Equality Act.

“There are a lot of different religious people who had issues with the Equality Act. And I guess I just had some questions with Alaska in terms of what that meant when they said things like, ‘Alaska supports the Equality Act’ … What does that mean for me?” she continued.

Smith’s attorney said, “At the time, it’s important to look at the context that this is taking place when Alaska Airlines had a major DEI push where they were encouraging their employees to have courageous conversations with each other about and ask difficult questions and share their diverse perspectives.”

“And so that’s why it’s pretty shocking when we have a couple of Christian flight attendants that were sharing their perspectives and were fired,” she continued.

“I think that was the issue is that they didn’t know how it would affect me in the workplace,” said Smith.

“For me personally, I have traditional Christian views on sexual morality: male and female, all of that,” explained the former flight attendant.

The attendants questioned the Equality Act’s implications for religious freedom and parental rights, leading to their termination.

“I wanted to know what that meant for me as an employee with Alaska Airlines supporting the Equality Act,” Smith recalled.

Alaska Airlines Senior VP of People, Andy Schneider, wrote to Smith, “Supporting the Equality Act is not about regulating morality. It’s about supporting laws that allow our LGBTQ+ employees and guests, no matter what state they live in or fly to, to be protected against discrimination.”

Smith alleged, “That’s the question that got me terminated.”

“That was the first conversation that I had with Alaska that they posted back. And then shortly after they took that down, deleted the comment, and then they told me that they were calling me in for something that I had posted online,” said Smith.

An AFA spokesperson said that “conversations are taken out of context by First Liberty.”

“Union leaders did not report or turn the Flight Attendants into Alaska management. The conversations were private — not in a ‘company chat,’” claimed the spokesperson.

“AFA represented the plaintiffs vigorously and decided not to advance the plaintiffs’ cases to arbitration because their claims lacked sufficient merit. We stand against discrimination in all its forms,” maintained the spokesperson.

“If Lacey held different religious beliefs about sexual morality, then the Company would not have fired her,” insisted the lawyers.

“Alaska Airlines VP of Inflight testified that an employee’s use of the term ‘opposite sex’ violates the Airlines’ discrimination policy because that implies that there are only two sexes,” wrote the FLI.

Alaska Airlines spokesperson said, “Since this is pending litigation, we can’t comment.”

“Benjamin Franklin equates ignorance with tyranny. And I think unfortunately, currently in 2024 and obviously 2021, etc., there’s a lot of people who are ignorant to their freedom and protection from religious discrimination in the workplace,” said Smith.

“I don’t know how we got here as a nation to where somebody can’t bring up their own questions about morality without losing their job. But that’s where we’re at,” she concluded.

Allegations include discriminatory treatment and lack of religious accommodation during the termination process.

The airline and the union defended their actions, while the lawsuit is ongoing.

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