A pro-life Christian who was fired from Southwest Airlines for expressing her views won $5.1 million last week in a lawsuit against her former employer and workers union.
Breitbart reports Charlene Carter, of Texas, accused the Transportation Workers Union of America (TWU) Local 556 and Southwest Airlines of firing her in 2017 because she spoke out against the union spending members’ dues on pro-abortion activities.
“Today is a victory for freedom of speech and religious beliefs,” Carter told Fox Business on Friday. “I am so humbled and thankful for today’s decision and for everyone who’s supported me these past five years, including the National Right to Work Foundation.”
CBN News reports a federal district court in Dallas awarded the $5.1 million to Carter on Thursday, requiring $4.15 million from Southwest and $950,000 from the Transport Workers Union.
Southwest said it plans to appeal. The company said it believes employees should be allowed to “express their opinions when done in a respectful manner.”
Carter’s troubles began in 2013 when she decided to quit the union because it uses members’ dues to support pro-abortion political causes, according to the lawsuit. However, her lawyers said she was forced to continue paying union dues to keep her job at Southwest as a flight attendant.
Over the next few years, Carter said she began to speak out against the union’s politics, including its support for the pro-abortion Women’s March.
“I had a really hard time knowing that they went and spent our money … and when we voiced our opinion about it, we were chastised about it,” Carter said. “And for me, I was fired for it.”
Carter was fired in 2017 shortly after sending an email with her objections to TWU Local 556 Executive Board president Audrey Stone, according to the lawsuit.
Her lawyers continued:
Days after sending [the] email, Carter was notified by Southwest managers that they needed to have a mandatory meeting as soon as possible about “Facebook posts they had seen.” During this meeting, Southwest confronted Carter with screenshots of her pro-life posts and messages, and questioned her why she made them. …
A week after this meeting, Southwest fired Carter, claiming she violated its “Workplace Bullying and Hazing Policy” and “Social Media Policy.” Before her termination, Carter had never received any discipline in her 20-year career with Southwest.
Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Foundation, which represented Carter, said they fought for five years to achieve the victory.
“This long overdue verdict vindicates Ms. Carter’s fundamental right to dissent from the causes and ideas that TWU union officials – who claim to ‘represent’ Southwest flight attendants – support while forcing workers to bankroll their activities,” Mix said in a statement. “No American worker should have to fear termination, intimidation, or any other reprisal merely for speaking out against having their own money spent, purportedly in their name, to promote an agenda they find abhorrent.”
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