A judge has ordered three attorneys for Southwest Airlines to undergo religious liberties training after they undermined an earlier ruling in a case involving a pro-life flight attendant the airline fired.
Southwest Airlines requested a new trial after a federal judge determined that the company discriminated against one of its flight attendants because of her pro-life Christian beliefs. The company requested a new trial in paperwork filed Jan. 2, claiming the federal judge and jury made mistakes when they ruled in favor of Charlene Carter last summer.
Carter worked as a flight attendant at Southwest for nearly 21 years. In 2017, she was fired after sharing her pro-life beliefs on Facebook and speaking out against the Transportation Workers Union of America (TWU) Local 556 spending members’ dues on pro-abortion activities.
In July, a federal district court in Dallas, Texas awarded her $5.1 million. The company also is required to give Carter back her job. But attorneys for Southwest argued in the filing that the company did not discriminate against Carter, and the ruling should be thrown out for “unfair management of the trial and other legal errors.”
And it did something else that a federal judge was not happy with.
U.S. District Judge Brantley Starr on Monday said that instead of notifying employees of their rights against religious discrimination, as he had ordered Southwest to do, the lawyers penned a memo warning workers not to violate the company policy that led it to fire the plaintiff.
Starr, a Trump appointee, gave the lawyers until Aug. 28 to attend an eight-hour training conducted by conservative Christian legal group Alliance Defending Freedom, which is routinely involved in high-profile court cases on abortion and religious liberties. Starr cited older rulings requiring lawyers to attend continuing education or ethics training.
Southwest and the union are appealing that decision, which also required the airline to notify employees of their right to express their religious views on social media.
Starr on Monday said Southwest flouted that order by instead telling employees that “the court ordered us to inform you that Southwest does not discriminate against our employees for their religious practices and beliefs.”
Southwest in a memo drafted by the three lawyers – Kerrie Forbes, Kevin Minchey, and Chris Maberry – also defended Carter’s firing and said it would continue enforcing its social media policy….