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Amidst DEI Push, Alaska Airlines Fired Flight Attendants for Christian Beliefs, says Court Brief

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January 17, 2024

News Release
 For Immediate Release: 1.17.24
Contact: John Manning, media@firstliberty.org
Direct: 972-941-4453

Amidst DEI Push, Alaska Airlines Fired Flight Attendants for Christian Beliefs, says Court Brief
Two flight attendants fight back after being fired for voicing concerns about the Equality Act’s impact on women and people of faith on internal messaging board.

Seattle, WA—First Liberty Institute and the Ard Law Group filed a motion for summary judgement on behalf of two flight attendants who sued Alaska Airlines and the Association of Flight Attendants union (“AFA”) in May 2022 after the airline terminated them because they asked questions in a company forum about the company’s support for the “Equality Act” and the union failed to adequately defend them.

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.

You can read the motion here.

“Alaska Airlines has made it clear that employees who hold traditional Christian beliefs must stay silent if they want to keep their jobs,” said Stephanie Taub, Senior Counsel for First Liberty Institute. “Now, we clearly see that Alaska Airlines’ obsessive focus on DEI created a hostile work environment for anyone who dares disagree with the company about moral issues.”

In early 2021, Alaska Airlines announced its support for the Equality Act on an internal employee message board and invited employees to comment.  Lacey Smith posted a question, asking, “As a company, do you think it’s possible to regulate morality?”  In the same forum, a second flight attendant, Marli Brown, asked, “Does Alaska support: endangering the Church, encouraging suppression of religious freedom, obliterating women rights and parental rights? ….”  Both plaintiffs were subsequently investigated, questioned by airline authorities, and fired from their jobs.

Court documents filed yesterday reveal the extent of the union’s involvement. Union MEC President reported the flight attendants’ comments to Alaska Airlines leadership. In a company chat among union representatives, one stated, “Can we PLEASE get someone to shut down comments, or put Marli and Lacey in a burlap bag and drop them in a well.” Union representatives repeatedly disparaged the flight attendants, calling them “bigots” and “pukes.” Referring to Lacey, the Union President said, “I hate her.”

In addition, Alaska Airlines’ decision to fire Marli and Lacey was in sharp contrast with how it treated allegations of anti-Christian discrimination or harassment. When a flight attendant was accused of anti-Christian “hate speech” and making a “threat of violence” (“Any Christian that thinks like this should have their teeth kicked in!”) on his social media using the Alaska Airlines logo for his social media cover photos, he was given the lowest level of discipline.

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About First Liberty Institute

First Liberty Institute is a non-profit public interest law firm and the largest legal organization in the nation dedicated exclusively to defending religious freedom for all Americans.
To arrange an interview, contact John Manning at media@firstliberty.org or by calling 972-941-4453.

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