A pair of former Alaska Airlines flight attendants have sued their employer, claiming they were fired for voicing opposition to the company’s embrace of the LGBT “Equality Act” on an internal message board.
Marli Brown and Lacey Smith argued in a federal lawsuit filed this week that they were the targets of religious discrimination when they were terminated from their jobs in August 2021 solely on the basis of their religious beliefs.
In early 2021, as Congress was debating the passage of the controversial Equality Act, Alaska Airlines announced its support for the measure on an employee message board and asked employees to comment.
The Equality Act, if passed, would amend the 1964 Civil Rights Act to include sexual orientation and gender identity among the prohibited categories of discrimination or segregation — which currently include race, color, religion, sex, and national origin.
According to their law firm, First Liberty Institute, both Brown and Smith felt “compelled by their Christian faith” to weigh in.
Smith asked: “As a company, do you think it’s possible to regulate morality?”
Brown added a lengthier statement seeking further explanation from Alaska Airlines about its support of the measure:
Does Alaska [Airlines] support: endangering the Church, encouraging suppression of religious freedom, obliterating [women’s] rights and parental rights? This act will [force] every American to agree with controversial government-imposed ideology … or be treated as an outlaw.
The Equality Act demolishes existing civil rights and constitutional freedoms, which threatens constitutional freedoms by eliminating conscience protections from the Civil Rights Act.
The Equality Act would affect everything from girls’ and women’s showers and locker rooms to women’s shelters and women’s prisons, endangering safety and diminishing privacy.
Giving people blanket permission to enter private spaces for the opposite sex enables sexual predators to exploit the rules and gain easy access to victims. This is Equality Act …
The remainder of her question was cut off due to character limitations.
Both Brown and Smith’s comments were later removed for being “discriminatory,” “hateful,” and “offensive.” The company then launched an investigation into the employees, which eventually resulted in their termination.
According to court documents, Alaska Airlines told the flight attendants: “Defining gender identity or sexual orientation as a moral issue, or questioning the Company’s support for the rights of all people regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation, is not a philosophical question, but a discriminatory statement. Your posting was offensive, discriminatory, and did not align with Alaska Airline’s values.”
Following their termination, the two reported charges to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and have since been granted “right-to-sue” letters by the department.
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