Judge rules that Southwest failed to follow his order in a flight attendant’s free-speech case

by | Aug 9, 2023 | Religion

DALLAS (AP) — A judge has sanctioned Southwest Airlines, writing that the airline twisted his words and disregarded his order in the case of a flight attendant who claimed that she was fired for expressing her opposition to abortion.U.S. District Judge Brantley Starr found Southwest in contempt for the way it explained the case to flight attendants last year after losing a jury verdict. In a blistering 29-page order, the judge said the airline acted as if its own policy limiting what employees can say is more important than a federal law protecting religious speech.
On Monday, the judge ordered Southwest to pay the flight attendant’s most recent legal costs, dictated a statement for Southwest to relay to employees, and ordered three Southwest lawyers to complete “religious-liberty training” from a conservative Christian legal-advocacy group.
Southwest filed an appeal of last year’s judgement in May. A spokesman said Tuesday that the Dallas-based airline also plans to appeal the judge’s new sanctions.
For Southwest, the sanctions add insult to injury. They stem from a roughly $800,000 judgment against the airline and the flight attendant’s union. Although that was less than the jury’s $5.1 million award, Charlene Carter also got her job back.
Carter, a longtime union critic, said she was fired after she called the union president “despicable” for attending the 2017 Women’s March in Washington, D.C. At the event, women protested the inauguration of President Donald Trump and called for protecting abortion r …

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