Two Alaska Airlines flight attendants who were fired for posting “biblically based” comments on a company message board are seeking a summary ruling in their wrongful termination lawsuit following disclosures that airlines officials and the attendants’ labor union cooperated in removing them, their lawyer says.
Flight attendants Marli Brown and Lacey Smith are represented by First Liberty Institute, a conservative Christian legal nonprofit. Both had independently asked about the airlines’ public support for the Equality Act, a 2021 bill that would add LGBTQ protections to federal civil rights law.
“As a company, do you think it’s possible to regulate morality?” Ms. Smith posted on an internal message board where the company had invited comment about the legislation. “Does Alaska support: endangering the Church, encouraging suppression of religious freedom, obliterating women[’s] rights and parental rights?” Ms. Brown posted.
In testimony for the lawsuit, the company’s vice president of in-flight said that an employee’s use of the words “opposite sex” — implying there are only two genders — violates the airlines’ anti-discrimination policy.
In addition, a Google Chat thread among officials of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, which represents Ms. Brown and Ms. Smith, shows that the labor union supported their ouster.
“Can we PLEASE get someone to shut down comments, or put Marli and Lacey in a burlap bag and drop them in a well,” Terry Taylor, then president of the union’s Local Executive Council in Seattle, told other union representatives in the chat thread.
“The evidence is so clear of anti-religious animosity, anti-religious hostility from the airline and also from the union that was supposed to be representing these flight attendants,” First Liberty senior counsel Stephanie N. Taub told The Washington Times. “We think it’s clear that they violated the law, and if you just look at the undisputed facts, the airline clearly says why they fired the flight attendants and if it’s clear that they fired them because of their religious beliefs.”