ExpressJet Suspends Muslim Flight Attendant For Not Serving Alcohol


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An interesting story about why ExpressJet, which operates as many connection carries including United Express, is suspending one of their muslim flight attendants who is refusing to serve alcohol to passengers, see below for the full story.

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From CNN,  A Muslim flight attendant says she was suspended by ExpressJet for refusing to serve alcohol in accordance with her Islamic faith.

In a bid to get her job back, Charee Stanley filed a discrimination complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on Tuesday for the revocation of a reasonable religious accommodation.

She wants to do her job without serving alcohol in accordance with her Islamic faith — just as she was doing before her suspension, her lawyer said.

“What this case comes down to is no one should have to choose between their career and religion and it’s incumbent upon employers to provide a safe environment where employees can feel they can practice their religion freely,” said Lena Masri, an attorney with Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

Attorney: Muslim flight attendant wants accommodation

Attorney: Muslim flight attendant wants accommodation 04:21
Stanley, 40, started working for ExpressJet nearly three years ago. About two years ago she converted to Islam. This year she learned her faith prohibits her from not only consuming alcohol but serving it, too, Masri said.

She approached her supervisor on June 1 and was told to work out an arrangement for someone to fulfill passenger requests for alcohol.

“It was at the direction of the airlines that she began coordinating with the other flight attendant on duty so that when a passenger requested alcohol, the other flight attendant would accommodate that request,” Masri said. “We know that this arrangement has worked beautifully and without incident and that it hasn’t caused any undue burden on the airline. After all, it was the suggestion of the airline.”

It seemed to be working out until another flight attendant filed a complaint against Stanley on August 2 claiming she was not fulfilling her duties by refusing to serve alcohol, Masri said. The employee complaint also said Stanley had a book with “foreign writings” and wore a headdress.

On August 25, the airline sent a letter to Stanley informing her that it was revoking its religious accommodation to exclude her from service of alcohol and placing her on administrative leave.

“They placed her on unpaid leave and they advised her that her employment may be terminated after 12 months,” Masri said. “We are requesting that her employment be reinstated and the accommodation of her religious beliefs be reinstated as well.”

A spokesman for ExpressJet declined to discuss Stanley’s complaint.

“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,” spokesman Jarek Beem said in an email.

Bottom Line

Where do you stand on this story, do you think she should of been suspending for not doing her job, or do you think she should of been allowed to not serve alcohol due to her islamic faith?  Feel free to comment below.

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Comments

  1. This is the first time I’ve read that she wasn’t suspended immediately upon making it known that she would not serve alcohol. That might make it difficult for her employer because apparently they WERE accommodating her religious beliefs for two months. They will have to justify how accommodating her religious beliefs will put an unfair burden on them.

    I also wonder about all those times that FA’s have said “We are here primarily for your safety.” If that is the case, does the refusal to serve alcohol impeding on the “primary purpose” of the job?

  2. They worked out an arrangement, and now renegging. It looks really bad on them.

    Agree with Conway that serving alcohol isn’t really the primary purpose of the FA.

    I also suspect that given the arrangement the FA likely indicated that her colleague would attend to their needs… Sounds like a bit of bigotry baked in there particularly with the comments on the foreign writing and the headscarf.

  3. If part or whole of your job description demands anything that goes against your personal beliefs, don’t do the job. If you received “enlightenment” after you took the job, too bad and good luck, don’t expect your employer to accommodate you. I think the airline’s mistake here is attempting to accommodate her personal beliefs in the first place.

  4. ExpressJet should have let her go in the beginning although I respect the fact that they gave some leeway and offerred a middle ground for a period of time. Quite honestly the FA should recognize the gesture by ExpressJet and not go after the company. It is out of line to complain because she wasnt extended permanent permission to change her job description as she wished.

    Now ExpressJet should FIRE HER, charge her for the court and litigation costs as well as damages!

    People push the misconception that a flight attendants role is only passenger safety. Does that mean that all flight attendants are in their rights to sit in a seat for the whole flight and only appear when there is an emergency or safety issue??? I think not.

    FIRED AND DISGRACED! And get me another martini!

  5. If you can’t or won’t do the entire job that is required, then find a new career. It isn’t fair that other FAs need to pick up the slack for her. As a passenger, it would annoy me that I would have to wait for another FA to serve me a drink.

  6. If you can’t do your job, just like the moron in KY who wouldn’t issue marriage license to the gay couple, then find another f#cking job! PERIOD,

  7. United should get her out of the air. Other employees don’t want to do her job for her. Put her at a ticket counter. If she refused to serve me a drink, I would refuse to pay for my air plane ticket. Remember the customer pays her salary!!!

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