Muslim Civil Liberties Group Claims Airline Violated Flight Attendant's Constitutional Rights
FARMINGTON HILLS (WWJ) - A Muslim flight attendant has filed a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEO) claiming she was suspended from her job for not serving alcohol — which is against her religious beliefs.
Lena Masri, an attorney for the Council of American Islamic Relations Michigan (CAIR), says Charee Stanley followed management's directions, working out an arrangement with her coworkers to accommodate passenger requests for alcohol.
However, Masri said, ExpressJet Airlines put Stanley on administrative leave after another attendant filed "an Islamophobic complaint" that referenced Stanley's head scarf.
"We notified ExpressJet Airlines of its obligation under the law to reasonably accommodate Ms. Stanley's religious beliefs," Masri said at a news conference in Farmington Hills on Tuesday. "Instead, ExpressJet close to violate Ms. Stanely's constitutional rights, placed her on administrative leave for 12 months after which her employment may be administratively terminated."
Masri said the arrangement Stanley had with other attendants to serve the alcohol for her had been working out just fine since Stanley converted to Islam about a month after becoming a flight attendant for ExpressJet.
"I don't think that I should have to choose between practicing my religion properly or earning a living," Stanley said. "I shouldn't have to choose between one or the other, because they're both important."
Contacted by WWJ Newsradio 950 for comment, airline spokesman Jarek Beem responded with the following statement:
"At ExpressJet, 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. As Ms. Stanley is an employee, we are not able to comment on her personnel matters."
CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization, with the mission "to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding."
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