New York: A Muslim flight attendant in the US has been suspended by her employer for refusing to serve alcohol to passengers in accordance with her faith, a media report said.
Charee Stanley, who wants her job back, has now approached the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission with a complaint against American airline ExpressJet for the revocation of a reasonable religious accommodation, CNN reported on Sunday.
Stanley’s counsel said the flight attendant wanted to do her job without serving alcohol in accordance with her Islamic faith — just as she was doing before her suspension.
“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 practise their religion freely,” Lena Masri, an attorney with Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, was quoted as saying.
Stanley, who converted to Islam about two years ago, learned only this year that her faith does not allow her from not only consuming alcohol but serving it, too, Masri said.
On her request in June, her supervisor worked out an arrangement for other flight attendants to fulfil passenger requests for alcohol.
The arrangement worked fine until another flight attendant filed a complaint against Stanley on August 2 claiming she was not fulfilling her duties by refusing to serve alcohol, the lawyer said.
On August 25, the airline informed Stanley that it was revoking its religious accommodation to exclude her from service of alcohol and placing her on administrative leave.
“They placed her on unpaid leave and they advised her that her employment may be terminated after 12 months,” Masri said. “We are requesting that her employment be reinstated and the accommodation of her religious beliefs be reinstated as well.”
According to CNN, a representative from ExpressJet declined to discuss Stanley’s complaint while maintaining that “we are an equal opportunity employer with a long history of diversity in our workforce”.