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Southwest Airlines again challenges award to Charlene Carter who was fired for her pro-life beliefs

by | Jun 3, 2024

By Dave Andrusko

Southwest Airlines was back in court today to challenge a judge’s decision to award $800,000 to flight attendant Charlene Carter who said she was fired from her job due to her pro-life beliefs.

In 2017, Charlene Carter, a veteran of 21 years, filed “a lawsuit against the airline in which she said she was unfairly fired from her job as a flight attendant due to her pro-life beliefs,” according to Bridget Sielicki. “Carter had been critical of her union’s decision to participate in the 2017 Women’s March, due to its association with Planned Parenthood.”

Southwest was ordered to reinstate Carter and pay her $810,180 in damages, including $150,000 in back pay and “comes after the Transportation Workers Union of America (TWU) Local 556 union and Southwest fired Charlene Carter for her religious stance on abortion, which she publicized on social media,” according to Audrey Conklin, of Fox Business News.

“Today is a victory for freedom of speech and religious beliefs,” Carter said in a statement at the time. “Flight attendants should have a voice and nobody should be able to retaliate against a flight attendant for engaging in protected speech against her union.”

Southwest “was also instructed to notify its employees of their rights against religious discrimination,” Conklin wrote.

But in his August 7, 2023, ruling U.S. District Judge Brantley Starr noted that Southwest “flaunted the court’s original order by twisting words,” Sielicki reported.

The Dallas-based airline told employees that it “does not discriminate,” and told flight attendants to follow the airline policy that it cited in firing Carter.


Starr found Southwest in contempt in August for the way it explained the case to flight attendants. He ordered Southwest to pay Carter’s most recent legal costs and he dictated a statement for Southwest to relay to employees.

Judge Starr also “ordered three Southwest lawyers to complete at least eight hours of religious liberty training from the Alliance Defending Freedom, which offers training on compliance with federal law prohibiting religious discrimination in the workplace,” the Associated Press reported.”

Lawyers for Carter said in briefs that the type of training ordered “is a commonplace civil contempt sanction” and denied that it impinges on the airline’s free speech rights.

Background

Carter joined the union in 1996 “and resigned in 2013 after realizing that her religious views did not align with those of the union, but she was required to continue paying union fees as a condition of her employment, according to a press release,” Conklin wrote.

Carter expressed her pro-life stance online “and pushed back against the Transportation Workers Union of America (TWU) Local 556 union after the group, including president Audrey Stone, attended the Women’s March in Washington, D.C., in 2017,” The Daily Wire’s Amanda Prestigiacomo reported.

Categories: Pro-Lifers