Muslim Flight Attendant Suspended by ExpressJet for Refusing to Serve Alcohol


A Muslim flight attendant filed a discrimination complaint after being suspended for refusing to serve alcohol based on her religious belief.

Charee Stanley, 40, filed a discrimination complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in Detroit earlier this month in an effort to keep her job.

Her attorney, Lena Masri of the Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), told CNN that Stanley wants to continue working without being required to serve alcohol in accordance with her Islamic faith, as she was doing before her suspension.

Stanley has been and ExpressJet flight attendant for nearly three years and converted to Islam about two years ago. She learned earlier this year that her faith prohibits her from consuming or serving alcohol, Masri said.

On June 1, Stanley discussed her concerns with her supervisor and was instructed to work out an arrangement with other flight attendants to fulfill passenger requests for alcohol.

Two months later, on August 2, another flight attendant filed a complaint against Stanley claiming she was failing to fulfill her duties. On August 25, Stanley had her religious accommodation revoked by the airline and she was placed on administrative leave. 

Masri told USA TODAY, “She was disciplined as a result of following the instructions of ExpressJet,” adding, “They directed her to do that – she carried out what she was instructed to do by the airline, and she was ultimately disciplined for that.”

“I don’t think that I should have to choose between practicing my religion properly or earning a living.  I shouldn’t have to choose between one or the other because they’re both important,” Stanley told CBS News. 

Muslim Flight Attendant Suspended by ExpressJet for Refusing to Serve Alcohol[/tweetthis]

Her attorney echoed that sentiment.  “What this case comes down to is no one should have to choose between their career and religion and its incumbent upon the employers to provide a safe environment, where the employees can feel they can practice their religion freely,” said Masri.

Being able to practice religion freely in the workplace has been a growing issue of late. Numerous Christian businesses have faced steep fines for refusing to participate in same-sex wedding ceremonies.  And earlier this month, Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis was jailed for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.


Follow the Conversation on Twitter