First Liberty Defends Christian Flight Attendant Fired for Questioning the Equality Act

September 10, 2021
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by Liberty McArtor • 6 min read

This week, First Liberty announced a major new case in which our legal team is fighting to stop “woke” companies from discriminating against religious employees. This case could be the one that sets a precedent to stop the toxic cancel culture that continually threatens the livelihood of people of faith in the workplace.

We are representing Lacey Smith, a former flight attendant who was fired by Alaska Airlines for expressing her beliefs.

Specifically, Lacey was fired for asking a question about the company’s support for the “Equality” Act—even though the company invited employees to discuss the topic.

The idea that an employer can fire an employee for expressing a religious belief is chilling—especially when you consider the fact that the “Equality” Act is still a proposal, and it has not been signed into law. This makes Lacey’s termination even more shocking because our current state and federal civil rights laws prohibit discrimination against someone because of their religious beliefs and expression.

That’s why our legal team stepped in to vindicate Lacey by filing a discrimination charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Because unless we stand up to this brazen discrimination now, it will only lead to millions of Americans being forced to choose between their job and their faith.

Fired for Asking a Question

Not long ago, Alaska Airlines issued a statement on the employees’ message board declaring support for the “Equality” Act—the deceptively named legislation that’s currently stalling in the Senate. As First Liberty has explained, this bill poses a serious threat to religious freedom if it becomes law.

As a Christian, Lacey has concerns about the ramifications of the “Equality” Act—as do millions of Americans.

So, when Alaska Airlines invited employees to comment and ask questions about the company’s support for the “Equality” Act, Lacey took the opportunity to respond on the company message board.

She asked, “As a company, do you think it’s possible to regulate morality?”

The company responded to Lacey’s question by telling her that “defining gender identity or sexual orientation as a moral issue…is…a discriminatory statement.”

In other words, Lacey asking a question to clarify the company’s position was—according to Alaska Airlines—itself an act of discrimination, one which ultimately led to her being fired from the job she loved.

The Dangers of “Woke” Corporate Culture

Private companies such as Alaska Airlines certainly have the right to express support for the proposed “Equality” Act. But once a company opens a forum for discussion, religious employees have the right to express themselves and inquire on the same basis as other employees.

In our defense of Lacey, we emphasize that federal law clearly states people of faith cannot suffer disparate treatment in employment decisions. Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act explicitly prohibits employment discrimination against Americans for their religious beliefs.

Not only was Lacey’s firing in violation of the law, but what’s truly sad about the “cancel culture” now pervading Alaska Airlines is that it wasn’t always that way. For thirty years the company had a tradition that reflected the religious viewpoint of the airline’s original owners. Flight attendants used to hand out inspirational cards with in-flight meals that quoted from Psalms, but in 2012 the company halted this tradition.

Today, it appears Alaska Airlines has fully caved to the woke ideologues in control of corporate America whose goal is to push radical political agendas. And—as Lacey’s case shows—they won’t hesitate in canceling and purging anyone who articulates an alternative point of view.

This is indeed a frightening prospect for religious Americans in the workplace: That as person of faith you can be in danger of losing your job for simply asking questions about important cultural issues.

The outcome of this case could impact the lives of millions of Americans—and that’s why First Liberty is stepping up in this critical legal battlefront with woke corporations. By defending Lacey, we’re not just fighting to change the “cancel culture” of Alaska Airlines. We’re taking a stand against injustice to hold corporate America to our country’s historic commitment to religious freedom.

The corporate “canceling” of Lacey by Alaska Airlines makes a mockery of laws that protect religious Americans from discrimination. With your support, we can help ensure Americans are not canceled because of their religious beliefs.

Will you consider a much-needed gift to First Liberty to protect Lacey and the many others who are singled out for their faith in the workplace?

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