Muslim flight attendant suspended for refusing to serve booze sues airline citing religious discrimination

Muslim flight attendant suspended for refusing to serve booze sues airline citing religious discrimination
Charee Stanley (center), flanked by CAIR representatives

What’s sauce for the goose? A flight attendant with ExpressJet Airlines who converted last month to Islam has filed a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEO), claiming that she was suspended from her job for not serving alcohol — which is against her religious beliefs.

CBS Detroit reports that the flight attendant, Charee Stanley, has enlisted the support of the Michigan branch of the Council of American Islamic Relations (CAIR). An attorney for CAIR, Lena Masri, says Stanley complied with management’s directions, arranging with coworkers to handle her drink orders. In a news conference Tuesday, Masri said:

We notified ExpressJet Airlines of its obligation under the law to reasonably accommodate Ms. Stanley’s religious beliefs. Instead, ExpressJet close to violate Ms. Stanely’s constitutional rights, placed her on administrative leave for 12 months after which her employment may be administratively terminated.

Masri added that the real flashpoint in the case was “an Islamophobic complaint” filed by a coworker that referenced Stanley’s head scarf.

The airline refused to comment on the case other than to issue a brief statement reading in part:

At ExpressJet, we embrace and respect the values of all of our team members. We are an equal opportunity employer with a long history of diversity in our workforce.

Some will find similarities between this case and that of Aaron and Melissa Klein, the Oregon bakers who were ordered to pay $135,000 in emotional damages to a gay couple whose wedding cake they refused to bake. Indeed, it could be argued that Stanley, whose conversion took place a month after she went to work for ExpressJet, understood that her job description included handling alcohol. A number of people on Twitter have made that point:

One commenter added:

Another wrote:

https://twitter.com/USBuckeye/status/639551881623281664?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

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Howard Portnoy

Howard Portnoy

Howard Portnoy has written for The Blaze, HotAir, NewsBusters, Weasel Zippers, Conservative Firing Line, RedCounty, and New York’s Daily News. He has one published novel, Hot Rain, (G. P. Putnam’s Sons), and has been a guest on Radio Vice Online with Jim Vicevich, The Alana Burke Show, Smart Life with Dr. Gina, and The George Espenlaub Show.


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