A Muslim flight attendant says she was suspended from her job because she refused to serve alcohol to a passenger due to her religious beliefs.
Charee Stanley, a flight attendant with ExpressJet, filed a discrimination complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in Detroit last week, CNN reports. Stanley said the airline’s management was aware of her religious beliefs and that she had arranged with another flight attendant to handle passenger requests for alcohol. (Muslims are barred from consuming alcohol.)
But Stanley said in the complaint that she was placed on a 12-month unpaid leave on Aug. 2 after another flight attendant complained that Stanley wasn’t fulfilling her duties. The complaint also mentioned that Stanley possessed a book of “foreign writings” and wore a headscarf.
Lena Masri, an attorney representing Stanley on behalf of the Detroit chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said the complaint had anti-Islamic overtones and that Stanley had received approval from airline management to not serve 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, according to CNN. “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.”
ExpressJet has declined to discuss the case. “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,” Jarek Beem, spokesman for the airlines, said in an email to CNN.