Southwest Airlines Goes Back to Court Over Award To Fired Flight Attendant

Photo by Ross Parmly on Unsplash

( – On Monday, June 3, Southwest Airlines headed back to federal court this week in an attempt to reverse the $800,000 award to a flight attendant who has claimed that she was fired from her position because of her anti-abortion stance. 

Charlene Carter, the flight attendant in question, was fired due to violating the company rules that specifically require all company employees to exhibit civility in the workplace, according to Southwest. The company said she sent “hostile and graphic” anti-abortion message to someone she worked with.

The employee who received those messages was also the local union president, who Carter had called “despicable” for having participated in the Washington, D.C., 2017 Women’s March. The employee in question was protesting the inauguration of then-President Donald Trump and was pushing for abortion rights to be protected. 

Carter’s attorney argued that she had sent out the material as a “pro-life Christian,” and that she believed due to her religion that she needed to share the material with anyone who talked about abortion. The attorney further claimed that federal law protected employees from facing religious-based discrimination and that Southwest management and the union needed to be held responsible for Carter’s termination. Management and the union reportedly made the complaints about Carter’s conduct.

U.S. District Judge Brantley Starr, who was nominated in 2019 by former President Trump, ordered the airline to instruct the flight attendant that they could not discriminate against a Southwest flight attendant for following their religious beliefs and practices. Starr ultimately ruled against the airline and demanded they pay $800,000, which included damages and backpay from both the airline and the union, as well as interest.

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