[DING!] You are now free to voice your pro-life opinions.
After a multi-year court battle, a flight attendant for Southwest Airlines has been vindicated after the airline fired her for posting pro-life political opinions on her personal social media account.
From CBN News:
A federal court has ordered Southwest Airlines and the Transport Workers Union (TWU) to give former flight attendant Charlene Carter her job back after she was allegedly fired over her stance on abortion.
As CBN News reported in July, after a five-year legal battle, Carter was awarded $5.3 million in a lawsuit that she filed back in 2017. She was terminated by the airline company for posting her religious opposition to abortion on social media.
On Monday, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas ordered Southwest and the union to give Carter the maximum amount of compensatory and punitive damages permitted under federal law, plus back pay, and other forms of relief that a jury originally awarded her in July.
This is awesome. Carter not only won the case, but she also won the maximum penalty against her employers, which had to be reduced from the initial hearing due to federal regulations, and total vindication.
This is some good stuff, people.
"Bags fly free with Southwest. But free speech didn't fly at all with Southwest in this case," The National Right to Work Legal Foundation (NRTW) quoted the judge's decision in a press release.
According to the advocacy group, the court rejected the union and airline arguments and also ordered that Carter should be fully reinstated as a flight attendant at Southwest, writing, "Southwest may 'wanna get away' from Carter because she might continue to express her beliefs, but the jury found that Southwest unlawfully terminated Carter for her protected expressions." If only "front pay," or what she would be making in wages until she finds a new job, is awarded, the Court reasoned, "the Court would complete Southwest's unlawful scheme" of firing dissenting employees.
In a statement following the court's decision, National Right to Work Foundation President Mark Mix said: "Southwest and TWU union officials made Ms. Carter pay an unconscionable price just because she decided to speak out against the political activities of union officials in accordance with her deeply held religious beliefs. This decision vindicates Ms. Carter's rights – but it's also a stark reminder of the retribution that union officials will mete out against employees who refuse to toe the union line."
Carter voiced her political opinion AND did so when she knew her union was opposed to it. Yet she refused to be silent, took on her employer and union, and won.
Her story is one that should be an inspiration to anyone who feels oppressed by overbearing unions.
As CBN News reported, Carter joined the union in September 1996 but resigned from her membership in September 2013. She had discovered that her religious views did not align with those of the union on topics such as abortion, according to the NRTW.
Even though she had ended her membership, Carter was still forced to pay fees to TWU Local 556 as a condition of her employment.
In January 2017, Carter learned that TWU Local 556 president Audrey Stone, and other officials, had used union money to attend the Women's March on Washington, D.C., which endorses abortion providers such as Planned Parenthood.
The flight attendant denounced the union's attendance at the event on social media and sent messages to Stone about a recall effort against her.
Southwest managers met with Stone regarding her social media posts and questioned why she posted them.
Southwest authorities claimed that Stone considered the social media comments to be a form of harassment toward her, and the airline company subsequently terminated Carter's employment.
You're allowed to voice your opinion and speak out against a union's political activism. Firing Carter was simply a direct attack on religious freedom and free speech.
Carter's victory is also a victory for anyone else working at Southwest or part of TWU.
According to NRTW, the court's decision, in addition to awarding reinstatement, back-pay, prejudgment interest, and damages to Carter, also hits the TWU union and Southwest with injunctions forbidding them from discriminating against flight attendants for their religious beliefs and from failing to accommodate religious objectors.