Christian Flight Attendant Fired Over Opposition to Union's Support of Women's March, Lawsuit Claims

(Photo: Wikimedia Commons / Dylan Ashe)

A former Southwest Airlines flight attendant has filed a lawsuit and a complaint with the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, claiming that she was fired for voicing religious opposition to her union dues being used to fly union members to the pro-abortion Women's March on Washington in January.

The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation announced that it is representing former Southwest Airlines employee Charlene Carter who filed a federal discrimination lawsuit in Texas against her former employer and union officials at the Transport Workers Union Local 556.

According to the foundation, Carter was fired over social media posts and messages in which she voiced her views on abortion and emails in which she supported Right to Work legislation.

Carter quit her membership with the union in 2013 when she learned that it was supporting causes that violated her religious convictions. However, she was still forced to pay union fees as a condition with her employment with Southwest, the foundation reported.

Carter, a Christian who feels her faith requires her to share a pro-life message, claims that she was terminated by the company this year after she voiced her thoughts on union dues being used to pay for about two dozen employees to attend the pro-abortion Women's March on Washington the day after President Donald Trump's inauguration. Pro-life views were seemingly unwelcome and pro-lifers were even spat on at the march.

Carter posted her thoughts on Facebook and even criticized union president Audrey Stone in Facebook messages.

According to the Washington Free Beacon, Stone accused the union of supporting abortion by using dues to participate in the the Women's March. Carter also sent Stone a link depicting an abortion.

"This (an abortion) is what you supported during your Paid Leave with others at the Women's MARCH in DC," Carter reportedly told Stone in a Facebook message, according to the Washington Free Beacon. "Wonder how this will be coded in the LM2 Financials ... cause I know we paid for this along with your Despicable Party."

Carter also reportedly stated in her messages to Stone that the "recall is going to happen," referring to a five-year effort to change union leadership.

"Can't wait for you to have to be just a regular flight attendant again," Carter told Stone.

Carter also sent Stone an email to detail her support of a National Right to Work bill, according to the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation. It was six days after the email was sent to Stone that Southwest Airlines bosses questioned Carter about her social media messages.

"During this meeting, Southwest presented Carter screen shots of her pro-life postings. Southwest bosses questioned why she sent these messages, despite Carter explaining her beliefs," the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation reported. "The Southwest authorities said that Stone claimed to be harassed by these messages."

Carter was fired in March on the grounds that she had violated the company's "Workplace Bullying and Hazing Policy" and its "Social Media Policy" with Facebook posts that were "highly offensive in nature." The company viewed Carter's messages to Stone as "harassing and inappropriate."

However, the foundation argued that the explanation for Carter's termination "lacks any credulity" because Stone's supporters have regularly "encouraged violence, used vulgarities, and even sent death threats towards their fellow Southwest employees and union members who opposed Stone."

However, none of those employees have been fired, the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation stated.

"This case shows the extent to which union officials will wield their power over employers to violate the rights of the workers they claim to represent," Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Foundation, said in a statement. "Charlene Carter did nothing wrong. She merely voiced her opinion and opposition to her money being used for causes she opposes, expressing her protected religious beliefs. Southwest and TWUA union officials need to be held accountable for violating Charlene's rights and the National Right to Work Foundation is pleased to help her stand up to this campaign of harassment."

A Southwest Airlines spokesman told The Christian Post that the company will not comment on pending litigation. CP reached out to TWU Local 556 for comment on Carter's lawsuit and the EEOC complaint and will update this article once a statement is made available.

Follow Samuel Smith on Twitter: @IamSamSmith
Follow Samuel Smith on Facebook: SamuelSmithCP