A federal judge has ordered three Southwest Airlines lawyers to undergo “religious freedom training” after the company fired a flight attendant for her anti-abortion stance.
US District Judge Brantley Starr said the three lawsuits needed to tighten their religious freedoms after defying his court orders in the flight attendant’s case – and said the conservative Christian rights group Alliance Defending Freedom was “particularly well placed” to clarify them.
While critics questioned the verdict, a spokesman for the group defended the judge’s verdict.
“The judge’s order requires the ADF to provide training on religious liberty law — not religious doctrine,” said Jim Campbell, the group’s chief adviser. told Fortune magazine.
“It is unfounded to say that believers cannot teach law if their beliefs differ from those of the audience.”
Starr, who was appointed to the bench by former President Donald Trump in 2019, is the nephew of former special counsel Kenneth Starr, who spent years investigating Bill and Hillary Clinton’s alleged Whitewater scandal and uncovering the 42nd commander in chief’s affair with intern Monica Lewinsky .
The judge issued the ruling in the Southwest case after saying the airline’s lawyers needed to brush up on the law after flight attendant Charlene Carter sued over her termination and won.
Carter, who has been in office for more than 20 years, was fired after she posted a series of social media messages criticizing the flight attendants’ union boss for supporting him in January on the anti-Trump and abortion campaign Women’s March in Washington, DC, 2017.
“You are truly despicable in many ways,” Carter reportedly wrote in a message that included attached video of an aborted fetus, Fortune reported.
She took her case to arbitration after she was dismissed but lost — nonetheless, she filed a lawsuit and was awarded $5.1 million by a Dallas jury last year — although Starr later increased the award to $800,000 -dollar lowered.
The airline and the union are appealing the verdict.