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Muslim Flight Attendant Sues Airline For Religious Discrimination

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- A Muslim flight attendant is taking an airline she works for to court.

As Mike Schuh reports, the issue is serving alcohol and alleged discrimination.

Charee Stanley says she was suspended from her job as a flight attendant because of her religious beliefs. This week, the 40-year-old Michigan woman filed a charge of discrimination against regional airline ExpressJet.

The issue? Stanley converted to Islam two years ago. She says she only learned recently that her faith prohibits her from serving alcohol.

She said the airline did work out an accommodation for two months--until she says one of her coworkers filed a complaint against her, saying, "...she was not fulfilling her duties as a flight attendant by refusing to serve alcohol."

Four weeks later, Stanley's "religious accommodation" excluding her from serving alcohol was revoked by the airline and she was suspended.

Her lawyer says her client's "sincerely held religious beliefs" should not prevent her from being a flight attendant.

A spokesman for ExpressJet declined to discuss Stanley's complaint, but in a statement to CNN said, "...we embrace and respect the values of all of our team members. We are an equal opportunity employer with a long history of diversity in our workforce."

CNN Aviation Analyst Mary Schiavo says a reasonable accommodation for Stanley may be difficult, given she works for a small airline.

"In the case of the airlines where you have just one flight attendant on a flight of 50 seats or less, the pilot can't come out of the cockpit and serve the drinks," said Schiavo.

The flight attendant who filed the motion against Stanley also complained about her headdress and a book she had at work.

Stanley's attorney says she's now on unpaid leave and may lose her job in a year.

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