September 6, 2023

Judge Pauses Order Against Southwest Airlines in Pro-Life Firing Case

On August 24, a federal judge put a 30-day pause on an order requiring Southwest Airlines lawyers to take religious freedom training. The training was court-ordered after Southwest fired a flight attendant for voicing pro-life opinions in opposition to her union leader.

US District Judge Brantley Starr ordered Southwest to pay $800,000 to Charlene Carter (the fired flight attendant) and rehire Carter at her previous position.

Southwest was required to inform employees that it cannot discriminate against employees based on their religious beliefs. Instead told employees in a memo that it "does not discriminate against our employees for their religious practices and beliefs." Southwest's statement failed to comply with the court's order by denying wrongdoing after the airline was found guilty.

After Southwest failed to comply with the court order, Starr ordered the airline to issue a court-written statement to its employees. Further, it ordered three lawyers at Southwest to undergo "training on religious freedom" from an attorney from Alliance Defending Freedom.

Starr delayed the enforcement of his order because Southwest appealed his decision to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. The delay gives the 5th Circuit time to consider the case.

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