Alaska Airlines Really Dislikes Religious Employees, Court Brief Argues

January 19, 2024
Alaska Summary Judgement Brief | First Liberty Insider

by Jorge Gomez • 5 min read

We took an important step forward in our Alaska Airlines case this week. This is the case involving Lacey Smith and Marli Brown, two Christian flight attendants who were fired for their religious beliefs.

Acting on their religious beliefs, Lacey and Marli politely asked about Alaska Airlines’ support for the “Equality” Act, a federal bill proposing to remove religious liberty protections in federal law. The company invited employees to discuss the topic in an employee-only forum. The airline disparaged their beliefs and wrongfully terminated them.

We filed a crucial Motion for Summary Judgment on Tuesday. We’ve been fighting this case in court since May 2022, when we filed suit against Alaska Airlines. This recent motion presents a vast amount of evidence about the company’s religious discrimination and asks the court to rule in favor of our clients without the need for a trial.

“The hostility and bigotry exhibited by representatives of Alaska Airlines is appalling,” First Liberty attorney Stephanie Taub said. “Their decision to fire our clients is a blatant violation of state and federal civil rights laws to discriminate against someone in the workplace because of their religious beliefs and expression. Now, we see clearly that Alaska Airlines’ obsessive focus on DEI created a hostile work environment for anyone who dares to disagree with the company’s political agenda.”

Our filing details the many ways Alaska Airlines discriminates against religious employees, which is illegal under federal law. For example, we point out that employees regularly demean Christians in the company, which has created “a culture where employees…feel comfortable disparaging Christians and other people of faith to one another.”

What’s more, we argue that the Airline’s training on religious accommodation doesn’t meet legal requirements. It’s so deficient that it creates “an environment where its own employees and supervisors are ignorant about religious employees’ statutory right to be free from religious discrimination.” We provide examples of company supervisors who suppress religion on the job.

And while the Airline often prides itself on its “Diversity, Equity and Inclusion” policies, those do not mention religion at all. In fact, our filing notes that the person “in charge of DEI was not aware of anything the Company had done to advance religious diversity – no religious training, no public commitments, no partnerships, no religious business resource groups.”

The Airline also did nothing to address complaints of a religiously hostile work environment. These are just a few of many comments religious employees made in a feedback survey:

  • “I don’t think people of faith fit into the rebranding and future vision Alaska Airlines management has in mind. We don’t belong.”
  • “I feel that if you are liberal you belong, but if you have conservative or Christian beliefs you are an outcast and shunned.”
  • “I feel unwanted and discriminated against at Alaska being a patriotic Christian.”

If that wasn’t enough, court documents also reveal the extent of the union’s involvement and religious hostility. 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.”

Going up against a corporate giant like Alaska Airlines in federal court requires tremendous resources. These companies have huge war chests and millions at their disposal to drag on these fights with their former employees.

So, here’s the bottom line: The only way First Liberty can take on woke corporations like Alaska Airlines is with your continued support.

Everyday Americans like Lacey and Marli can’t do it alone. They need your help. When you give to First Liberty, they get the best legal representation possible by using our staff and volunteer attorneys at the most elite law firms in America. Even better, none of our clients will ever see a legal bill.

And with God’s favor, we’ve seen that we CAN WIN against huge opponents at the highest level.

We beat the U.S. Postal Service in Gerald Groff’s case. We beat the state of Maine in our Treat Children Fairly case. We beat the Bremerton School District in Washington in our Coach Kennedy case. All of these were U.S. Supreme Court victories that set major precedents.

Think how many people of faith in our country are facing religious discrimination in this hostile cancel culture environment. By helping us win these cases, you could have an enormous impact for religious liberty in the workplace.

This is not the time to pull back. Religious liberty still faces serious challenges. It’s the time to keep fighting. Everyday heroes like Lacey and Marli need YOU in their corner. Give to First Liberty today.

Battle Is Not Over Ad | First Liberty Insider

Social Facebook Social Instagram Twitter X Icon | First Liberty Institute Social Youtube Social Linkedin

Terms of UsePrivacy PolicyState DisclosuresSitemap • © 2024 Liberty Institute® is a trademark of First Liberty Institute