Lawyers for two Christian flight attendants who sued Alaska Airlines and the Association of Flight Attendants union (AAF) for discrimination filed a motion for summary judgment this week, detailing the extent of the union’s involvement.
Attorneys for Marli Brown and Lacey Smith filed the motion Tuesday after over a year and a half of litigation. The flight attendants filed a lawsuit against the two organizations in May 2022 after alleging that they were terminated from the airline because they raised concerns about its endorsement of the Equality Act on an internal employee message board.
The legislation would add sexual orientation and gender identity to federal civil rights anti-discrimination laws.
When the company invited employees to comment on their endorsement of the Equality Act, Smith asked on the forum if it were possible for a company to “regulate morality,” according to First Liberty Institute, the legal group representing the plaintiffs.
Brown asked whether Alaska Airlines supports “endangering the Church, encouraging suppression of religious freedom, obliterating women rights and parental rights.”
Their queries reportedly prompted an investigation that ultimately led to their termination, according to the suit. They filed two “Charge of Discrimination” complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in 2021, claiming the airline engaged in retaliation, religious discrimination, and creating a “hostile work environment.”
The two also alleged that their union, the AAF, did not adequately represent them amid the fallout.
AAF was also involved in the women’s termination as AAF Master Executive Council President Jeff Peterson allegedly reported their comments to the leadership of Alaska Airlines seeking repercussions, according to court documents.
Union representatives allegedly excoriated Brown and Smith in a company chat for their comments about the Equality Act, with one writing, “Can we PLEASE get someone to shut down comments, or put Marli and Lacey in a burlap bag and drop them in a well?”
Other representatives referred to them as “bigots” and “pukes,” and Peterson said he hated Smith, according to the suit.
“Peterson repeatedly referred to Marli and Lacey as ‘bigots’; he drew Alaska Airlines’ attention to Plaintiffs’ comments; he told a friend ‘I hate [Lacey]’; and he told others he supported her discipline,” the motion reads.
According to First Liberty Institute, Alaska Airlines has not handled allegations of anti-Christian discrimination like they have the complaints against Brown and Smith. The nonprofit claimed that a flight attendant received the lowest level of discipline after being accused of “hate speech” and a “threat of violence” on his social media, which reportedly displayed the Alaska Airlines logo.
“Alaska Airlines has made it clear that employees who hold traditional Christian beliefs must stay silent if they want to keep their jobs,” Stephanie Taub, senior counsel at First Liberty Institute, said in a statement.
“Now, we clearly see that Alaska Airlines’ obsessive focus on DEI created a hostile work environment for anyone who dares disagree with the company about moral issues.”
The Equality Act passed the U.S. House of Representatives in 2021 largely along party lines, though it has since languished after being referred to the Senate for consideration.
The Christian Post has reached out to both Alaska Airlines and AAF for comment and will update this story if they respond.
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