First Liberty Sues Alaska Airlines in Federal Court

May 20, 2022
FLI Insider | Suing Alaska Air

by Mia Gradick • 6 min read

This week, First Liberty filed suit in federal district court against Alaska Airlines on behalf of our clients Lacey Smith and Marli Brown. The airline wrongfully fired the two flight attendants because of their religious beliefs, which is in direct violation of federal civil rights law that prohibits religious discrimination.

Our lawsuit filed this week aims to vindicate the rights of our clients, and it’s also an important action in our ongoing fight to stop “woke” companies from discriminating against religious employees. The outcome of this case could impact the rights of religious employees in the workplace, and possibly set a precedent to stop the toxic “cancel culture” that continually threatens the livelihoods of people of faith.

We explain in our lawsuit:

“A corporation and employee union may actively promote and support social and political causes, but in doing so they may not discriminate against employees who are members of a federally protected class. To put a finer point on it, federal law prohibits corporations like Alaska Airlines…from discriminating against employees because of their religion, which includes all aspects of religious observance and practice, as well as belief.”

Lacey and Marli were fired for asking questions about the company’s support for the “Equality” Act—even though the company invited employees to discuss the topic in an employee-only forum.

The idea that an employer can fire employees for living out their faith is disturbing—especially when you consider that the “Equality” Act is only a proposal and not yet signed into law. That makes Lacey and Marli’s terminations even more shocking because state and federal laws already on the books clearly protect against religious discrimination in the workplace.

That’s why our legal team is leading this critical effort to stop unlawful discrimination against religious employees. Because unless we stand up now, it will only lead to millions of Americans being forced to hide their faith or risk losing their jobs.

FLI Insider | Woke HR

Fired for Asking Questions

Last year, Alaska Airlines issued a statement on an employee message board declaring support for the “Equality” Act—a deceptively named bill that is currently stalled in the U.S. Senate.

As Christians, Lacey and Marli have concerns about the “Equality” Act and the impact it could have on their freedoms—as do millions of Americans.

So, when Alaska Airlines invited its employees to comment and ask questions about the company’s support, Lacey and Marli took the opportunity to respond on the company message board.

Lacey asked, “As a company, do you think it’s possible to regulate morality”? Marli asked for similar clarification, asking on the message board about the bill’s impact on vulnerable populations, especially with respect to the safety of women in women-only spaces such as changing rooms.

The airline disparaged their beliefs and promptly fired them over these questions. Their termination demonstrates the heavy hand woke corporate America wields over religious employees. There can be devastating repercussions for those who dare to violate the speech codes enforced by the corporate elite. It cost Lacey and Marli the jobs they loved and severely tarnished their professional reputation.

Woke Madness from the Board Room to the Break Room

Private corporations such as Alaska Airlines certainly have the right to express support for the proposed “Equality” Act. But companies cannot open a forum for discussion, invite respectful disagreement and then fire employees who express religious perspectives. Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act expressly protects religious employees from such discriminatory treatment.

As Lacey and Marli’s case shows, woke corporate America won’t hesitate to cancel any employee who expresses traditional, religious beliefs on moral issues. By defending them, we’re taking a stand against injustice and holding corporations accountable to our country’s steadfast commitment to religious liberty. The corporate “canceling” of Lacey and Marli by Alaska Airlines makes a mockery of laws that protects religious Americans from unlawful discrimination. Woke corporations cannot treat religious employees as second-class citizens.

Please give now and join First Liberty in this fight. Your support is critical to help Lacey and Marli get the justice they deserve. By protecting the jobs of people like them, you’re also safeguarding your own job and the jobs of people close to you.

FLI Insider | Alaska Air Ad

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