US: Stewardess Fired for Refusing to Serve Alcohol

Muslim flight attendant put on administrative leave following complaint from colleague that she was not performing her duties.

Cynthia Blank ,

Airplane (illustrative)
Airplane (illustrative)

A Muslim flight attendant in the United States claims she was suspended from ExpressJet Airlines for refusing to serve alcohol in accordance with the rules of her faith, CNN reports. 

Charee Stanley has filed a discrimination complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in a bid 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 attorney, Lena Masri, said. 

Stanley, 40, began working for ExpressJet three years ago and converted to Islam a year into her employment there. According to Masri, she learned this year that Islam not only prohibits her from drinking alcohol, but serving it as well. 

When she approached her supervisor about the issue on June 1, she was told to coordinate with other flight attendants on duty to comply with the alcohol-related requests of passengers. 

The arrangement was apparently working until another flight attendant filed a complaint against Stanley on August 2 asserting she was not performing her duties. The complaint also alluded to Stanley's ownership of a book with "foreign writings" and that she wore a headdress.

ExpressJet placed Stanley on unpaid administrative leave on August 25, and wrote that it was reneging on its religious accommodation to preclude her from serving alcohol.  

A spokesperson for ExpressJet refused to discuss the matter, only saying that the airline is "an equal opportunity employer with a long history of diversity in our workforce."