(RepublicanNews.org) – Pro-abortion lawyers for Southwest Airlines will be forced to endure “religious liberty training” if a federal judge has their way. To their likely consternation, Judge Brantley Starr has also ordered that their First Amendment instruction be taught by a Christian organization.
Starr’s ruling stems from a recent lawsuit in which Southwest flight attendant Charlene Carter sued the airline on the grounds that she was fired for expressing anti-abortion views on social media. Carter, who had been with the airline for over two decades, made several posts criticizing the fact that her union boss had attended a 2017 pro-abortion march for women in Washington, D.C. The flight attendant was fired shortly thereafter.
A Dallas jury found that the airline had violated Carter’s free speech and religious rights and awarded her $5.1 million in compensation. Southwest was also forced to rehire the former attendant and pay her legal fees.
In addition to the compensation, Judge Starr ordered Southwest to tell its flight attendants that the airline is not legally permitted to “discriminate against” employees based on statements “and beliefs” associated with their faith. The judge’s initial order extended to views shared “on social media” and specifically covered opinions “concerning abortion.”
According to Starr, Southwest “didn’t come close” to abiding by his instructions. In response, he wrote an amended 29-page scathing critique of the airline and ordered their attorneys to undergo training on “religious liberty” hosted by Alliance Defending Freedom. The legal advocacy group pursues issues like abortion and LGBTQ rights from a Christian perspective and has been identified by the SPLC as an “anti-LGBTQ hate group.”
Southwest fought back against Carter’s initial victory and her compensatory payout was dropped from $5.1 million to $800 thousand upon appeal. The airline has announced they plan to appeal the latest ruling as well.
Judge Starr said the ADF is “particularly well-suited” to provide First Amendment training to Southwest’s attorneys.
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