Devan Cole of CNN writes that Texas District Judge Brantley Starr judge has ordered three lawyers representing Southwest Airlines to attend “religious-liberty training” after that allegedly violated an earlier ruling regarding religious discrimination.
Last year, the court ruled that Southwest and Transport Union Workers discriminated against a flight attendant. Southwest claims the flight attendant was fired due to personal conduct, not discrimination. A judicial order for religious liberty training is unusual, although not unprecedented.
Last year, a jury found that both Southwest and Transport Union Workers discriminated against Charlene Carter when it fired the flight attendant after she “expressed her pro-life beliefs to her union president.”
Following the verdict, Starr ordered Southwest to reinstate Carter and take several other corrective actions, including requiring both the airline and the union to “inform Southwest flight attendants that, under Title VII, they may not discriminate against Southwest flight attendants for their religious practices and beliefs, including – but not limited to – those expressed on social media and those concerning abortion.”
But in messages sent by three Southwest attorneys to the company’s employees, according to a sanctions order handed down by Starr, the airline instead said that “Southwest does not discriminate against our Employees for their religious practices and beliefs.
Starr said in his order that “this isn’t the first time an entity has needed religious-liberty training after it attempted to suppress speech,” and added that ADF is among other “esteemed non-profit organizations that are dedicated to preserving free speech and religious freedom.”
“And some of those entities laudably provide training free of charge for those who have struggled to respect religious liberties in the manner federal law requires,” he wrote.
The group said in a statement to CNN that it’s “pleased that the judge and jury protected the religious speech of the employee in this case.”
“Every company should respect religious liberty and diverse viewpoints in the workplace,” said Jim Campbell, the group’s chief legal counsel. “We are happy to help Southwest achieve that goal by providing training on Title VII and other applicable laws barring religious discrimination.”