According to CNN, the refusal was in accordance with Charee Stanley‘s Islamic faith. On Tuesday (Sept. 1), The 40-year-old, who began working for Express Jet three years, took steps to get her job back by filing a discrimination complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for the revocation of a reasonable religious accommodation in an effort to get her job back.
“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,” Stanley’s lawyer, Lena Masri told CNN while noting that her client wants to have things the way they were before her suspension, with her doing her job without serving alcohol in accordance with her Islamic faith.
In addition to marking when Stanley started working for ExpressJet, Masri, an attorney with Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, revealed that Stanley converted to Islam about two years ago and learned this year that her faith prohibits her from consuming and serving alcohol.
Upon realizing this, Stanley, informed her supervisor of her discovery on June 1. As it turned out, Stanley was told to work out an arrangement for someone to honor 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.”
Despite there being no problem with the arrangement, Masri mentioned that things changed on Aug. 2 when a complaint against Stanley was filed by another flight attendant who claimed her refusal to serve alcohol resulted in her not fulfilling her duties. Added to the complaint were claims from the employee that Stanley had a book with “foreign writings” and wore a headdress.
The employee’s complaint led to ExpressJet sending a letter to Stanley on Aug. 25 to let her know 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 stated. “We are requesting that her employment be reinstated and the accommodation of her religious beliefs be reinstated as well.”
Although he didn’t go into Stanley’s complaint, Jarek Beem, a spokesman for ExpressJet, issued the following comment to CNN via email:
“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.
For more coverage on Stanley’s situation, check out the video below: