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A flight attendant was awarded $5.1 million by a jury on Thursday, finding that Southwest Airlines canned 20-year veteran Charlene Carter for her sincerely held religious beliefs, namely her pro-life views.
Carter expressed her pro-life stance online and pushed back against the Transportation Workers Union of America (TWU) Local 556 union after the group, including president Audrey Stone, attended the Women’s March in Washington, D.C., in 2017. The event receives funding from Planned Parenthood, the largest abortion mill in the country.
“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,” Carter told FOX Business on Friday. “I am so humbled and thankful for today’s decision and for everyone who’s supported me these past five years, including the National Right to Work Foundation.”
The National Right to Work Foundation President Mark Mix slammed the union following the verdict.
“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,” said Mix, who reportedly served pro-bono legal representation to Carter.
“TWU union officials still enjoy the enormous government-granted privilege of being able to force airline workers to financially subsidize their activities as a condition of employment,” Mix added.
“While we’re proud to stand with Ms. Carter and are pleased by the verdict, there ultimately should be no place in American labor law for compelling workers to fund a private organization that violates their core beliefs,” he added.
A jury rendered the verdict following an eight-day trial before Dallas Judge Brantley Starr. Bloomberg Law said Starr ruled on May 5 that it was necessary for Carter to receive a trial due to religious bias claims under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, retaliation claims under the Railway Labor Act, and claims of breach of the duty of fair representation.
Southwest plans to appeal the verdict, claiming in a statement on Friday that the company “has a demonstrated history of supporting our employees’ rights to express their opinions when done in a respectful manner.”
Carter could collect $4.15 million from Southwest and $950,000 from the union, mostly in punitive damages, if the verdict stands,” according to The Washington Post.