A jury has awarded, former Southwest Airlines flight attendant, Charlene Carter, $4.5 million from the airline, which Carter alleges had fired her because of pro-life beliefs.
She also won $950,000 in punitive damages from Local 556 of the Transport Workers Union.
When Carter started working for Southwest Airlines in 1996, she had to join the union. In 2013, she quit her union membership because it was supporting activities, such as abortion, that violated her beliefs as a Christian. It was also using Carter’s union dues to support political causes that Carter did not support.
Though no longer a member, as part of her employment with Southwest, Carter was still required to pay union dues.
The problem started in 2017 when Carter found out that several members of the union, including its president, Audrey Stone, were attending a woman’s march in Washington, DC, that was sponsored by several pro-abortion groups.
Seeing her union dues being used in such a manner, Carter posted comments on social media indicating her pro-life position and as well criticizing Stone and supporting a measure to recall Stone as the union’s president.
In a personal email to Stone, Carter also indicated she was supporting Stone’s recall and as well “right to work initiatives”, that would stop employees from being forced to join a union.
A few days later, Southwest managers called Carter in for a meeting where they showed screenshots of her pro-life posts, and then added that Stone felt she was being harassed by Carter.
At the meeting, Carter clarified that some of the union’s activities violated her religious beliefs.
A few days later, Southwest fired Carter.
With the help of the National Right To Work Legal Foundation (NRWF), Carter filed a successful lawsuit against Southwest and the union.
In a Facebook post announcing her victory, Carter wrote, “Thank You all for your PRAYERS … I GIVE JESUS all the Glory for this WIN.”
Carter also added in an interview with Fox News, “Today is a victory for freedom of speech and religious beliefs. Flight attendants should have a voice and nobody should be able to retaliate against a flight attendant for engaging in protected speech against her union,”
In response to the victory, NRWF President Mark Mix added:
“Charlene Carter is a committed Christian and she strongly believes union officials have no business injecting themselves in policy battles over issues outside the workplace that are fundamental to her faith.” […]
“No American worker should have to fear termination, intimidation, or any other reprisal merely for speaking out against having their own money spent, purportedly in their name, to promote an agenda they find abhorrent.“
In a statement, Southwest Airlines said it will appeal the decision and added that it supports the rights of employees to state their opinions on issues as long as it’s done respectfully.
READ: Flight Attendant Triumphs Over TWU Union and Southwest in Suit About Illegal Firing; Jury Awards $5.1 Million in Damages AND ‘I GIVE JESUS All the Glory’: Flight Attendant Fired over Pro-Life Beliefs Finally Wins Case, Awarded $5 Million in Damages AND Ex-Southwest Airlines flight attendant wins $5.3 million lawsuit over abortion activism