(CTN News) – Three Southwest Airlines attorneys were ordered by a federal judge to attend religious liberty training after failing to comply with an earlier court order.
Earlier this year, Southwest Airlines fired Charlene Carter, a flight attendant with more than 20 years of service, for political and religious comments posted on social media.
In a ruling issued by District Judge Brantley Starr, the flight attendant was awarded $5 million and required to be reinstated by the airline.
In addition, Starr instructed Southwest Airlines to inform Southwest flight attendants that they may not discriminate against Southwest flight attendants because of their religious beliefs and practices, including — but not limited to — those expressed on social media and those concerning abortion.
According to The Associated Press, Southwest wrote a memo to all flight attendants that stated, “Southwest does not discriminate against its employees based on their religious practices and beliefs.”
Additionally, the document criticized Carter’s actions harshly, telling employees to follow the same policy that resulted in Carter’s termination.
“Training on religious freedom for three Southwest lawyers the Court finds responsible (Kerrie Forbes, Kevin Minchey, and Chris Maberry) is the least restrictive means for ensuring compliance with the Court’s order,” the judge explained,
As a matter of fact, the Alliance Defending Freedom (‘ADF’) has conducted such training in the past, and the Court believes that this is appropriate in this case.
After complying with the other requirement, the airline’s attorneys reinstated Carter, but continued to maintain that she had harassed her coworkers.
It should be noted that Southwest Airlines claims that the Email Notice still substantially complies with the judgment. However, Southwest Airlines has already offered to purge this alleged contempt by providing a corrective notice that replaces the language ‘does not discriminate’ with ‘may not discriminate’. Alternatively, there is no conduct in need of remediation by religious-liberty training.
Conservative group ADF responded to the mandate by saying that it is pleased that the judge and jury protected the employee’s religious freedom.
Many people are concerned about the decision to have ADF Southwest Airlines conduct the training, including David Lopez, who was the general counsel for the Equal Employment Commission during the Barack Obama administration and is currently a law professor at Rutgers University.
Lopez told Reuters that the court was entering “some really dangerous territory.”.
According to Reuters, due to the group’s conservative Christian viewpoint, it could interfere with the lawyers’ rights, particularly if they do not identify as Christians.