First Liberty Institute has filed a federal EEOC complaint on behalf of its client, Lacey Smith, who says she was terminated after questioning the airline’s stated support of The Equality Act.
Alaska Airlines is headquartered in SeaTac, Washington. The company is owned by Alaska Air Group, Inc.
David Hacker, director of litigation at First Liberty, says Smith and a second anonymous employee, who was also fired, posted their views on a message board that was viewed by others, including management. What makes the firing so questionable, he tells American Family News, is corporate management "invited" employees to comment on the company’s support for the controversial Equality Act.
So they did. Then they got fired.
"Our clients, Lacey Smith in particular, asked a simple question: Do you think it's okay to regulate morality?” Hacker alleges. “For asking that question she was fired and essentially canceled and unable to work anymore at Alaska Airlines."
According to a Fox Business story about the EEOC complaints, the second employee posted a more pointed question that dug deeper into the religious concerns over The Equality Act: "Does Alaska support: endangering the Church, encouraging suppression of religious freedom, obliterating women rights and parental rights?”
Airline supports 'diversity and inclusion'
American Family News is seeking comment from Alaska Airlines, which has not responded, but the company did share its harassment policy with the cable news network.
“Alaska Airlines promotes healthy and honest discussions in the workplace on issues of diversity and inclusion,” the statement reads. “These conversations are a vital part of learning and seeking to understand as well as providing equal access to opportunity and creating a workplace that embraces individuality and uniqueness."
Defenders and supporters of The Equality Act maintain passage of the legislation will, for example, prevent discrimination against homosexuals, lesbians, and transgenders for bank loans and jury selection. Those same defenders and supporters --- and there are many on Capitol Hill and hundreds in corporate America--- have also mocked concerns that a future law will clash with religious rights guaranteed by the First Amendment, calling that concern right-wing paranoia.
Yet right-leaning groups have pointed out far-left groups that already openly despise orthodox views on marriage and sexuality would move closer to outlawing Sunday morning sermons as "hate speech" if U.S. civil rights law is changed as the Act plans to do.
It is also ironic that the firing of the two employees demonstrates The Equality Act is affecting people of faith even before it is adds LGBT protections to the federal Civil Rights Act.
That is because descriptive words such as "diversity" and "inclusion" that are mentioned in the airline's own harassment policy, and in similar policies at other major U.S. corporations, are not referring to white Bible-believing Christians on the payroll whose biblical views are considered intolerant bigotry by their own management.
"We're hopeful that the EEOC will investigate Alaska Airlines,” Hacker says, “and the hostile work environment that it's created for people of faith who work there."