A Muslim flight attendant has sued ExpressJet, accusing the airline of wrongly suspending her because she refused to serve alcohol to passengers.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations' Michigan chapter announced on Tuesday that it filed the lawsuit last week on behalf of Charee Stanley, a Detroit-based flight attendant for the airline headquartered in Atlanta.
The federal court case follows a discrimination complaint filed last year with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which dismissed it without determining whether the airline violated the law.
Stanley alleges ExpressJet didn't provide a reasonable religious accommodation and seeks back pay and other damages.
'I don't think that I should have to choose between practicing my religion properly or earning a living,' Stanley said in September last year.
'I shouldn't have to choose between one or the other because they're both important.'
Stanley had been an employee at ExpressJet for three years when she was suspended last summer. She had converted to Islam sometime in 2014
In a statement, CAIR-MI said that due to her 'sincerely-held' religious beliefs that prohibit her from serving alcohol, Stanley had been instructed by her employers to work out an arrangement with another flight attendant on duty to accommodate requests for alcohol while she fulfilled other duties.
'The accommodation did not pose any hardship on ExpressJet Airlines whatsoever,' it said.
However, she was then on unpaid leave for 12 months in August last year. After this, her employment may be terminated, according to the council.
'Employers are obligated to provide reasonable accommodations of the religious beliefs of their employees,' said CAIR-MI Legal Director Lena Masri.