Two flight attendants are suing Alaska Airlines, accusing the company of firing them for questioning the airline’s official support for the proposed LGBT anti-discrimination bill the Equality Act.
In a complaint filed Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, Marli Brown and Lacey Smith accused Alaska Airlines of religious discrimination. The lawsuit also lists the flight attendants’ union, the Association of Flight Attendants.
According to the complaint, Brown and Smith were terminated after questioning Alaska Airlines’ support for the Equality Act on an internal employee message board.
“Alaska Airlines responded to Marli and Lacey’s posts by immediately removing Marli and Lacey from their flight schedules, terminating their employment, and disparaging their religious expression and beliefs as ‘discriminatory,’ ‘hateful,’ and ‘offensive,'” read the complaint, in part.
“When Marli and Lacey — both union members — faced termination because of their religious practices and beliefs, [their union] failed to effectively represent them, ignoring civil rights laws prohibiting both employers and unions from discriminating on the basis of religion.”
Stephanie Taub, senior counsel with the First Liberty Institute, which is representing the flight attendants, said in a statement Tuesday that this was “a blatant violation of state and federal civil rights laws.”
“Alaska Airlines ‘canceled’ Lacey and Marli because of their religious beliefs, flagrantly disregarding federal civil rights laws that protect people of faith from discrimination,” Taub said.
“‘Woke’ corporations like Alaska Airlines think that they do not have to follow the law and can fire employees if they simply don’t like their religious beliefs.”
Last August, First Liberty filed two “Charge of Discrimination” complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against Alaska Airlines on behalf of Smith and Brown.
In March, the EEOC sent “Notices of Right to Sue” to the plaintiffs, paving the way for the lawsuit filed earlier this week.
Alaska Airlines is one of around 500 businesses that have declared their support for the passage of the legislation and is listed as part of the Human Rights Campaign’s Business Coalition for the Equality Act.
Overseen by the prominent LGBT advocacy group the Human Rights Campaign, the Business Coalition believes that the United States needs “a federal standard that treats all employees the same.”
“Launched in March 2016, the 520 member companies of HRC’s Business Coalition for the Equality Act have operations in all 50 states, headquarters spanning 33 states and a combined $7.4 trillion in revenue, and employ over 15.4 million people in the United States,” stated the HRC’s coalition page.
“The Equality Act creates clear, consistent protections to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in employment ensuring that LGBTQ employees are hired, fired, and promoted based on their performance.