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Charlene Carter Screenshot/National Right to Work

(LifeSiteNews) — A Christian flight attendant has been reinstated to her position five years after being fired for her pro-life views.

Last week, a federal judge in Dallas ruled in favor of Charlene Carter, who sued Southwest Airlines and the Transportation Workers Union of America (TWU) for unjustly firing her in 2017 after she refused to support abortion through her local union. Carter was represented by lawyers from the National Right to Work Foundation.

“The Court rejected union and airline arguments and also ordered that Carter should be fully reinstated as a flight attendant at Southwest, writing that ‘Southwest may ‘wanna get away’ from Carter because she might continue to express her beliefs, but the jury found that Southwest unlawfully terminated Carter for her protected expression,’” according to a press release from the legal organization.

The judge ordered both Southwest and TWU to return “the maximum amount of compensatory and punitive damages permitted under federal law, plus back-pay” to Carter. The court noted that if she were to receive only what she would have made in wages before finding another job, “the Court would complete Southwest’s unlawful scheme” of unjustly firing her.

“Charlene promised God she would never be quiet about defending Life after she found forgiveness for her abortion,” Texas Right to Life posted on Twitter after the court ruling. “She was fired for voicing her beliefs. A court now ordered Southwest to pay her millions in damages & rehire her. Way to go, Charlene!”

Five years ago, Carter lost her job after she objected to her union’s use of funds to support the abortion industry. She was eventually terminated after management became aware of social media posts in which she expressed her concern, citing her pro-life and religious beliefs.

“Ms. Carter’s victory should prompt nationwide scrutiny of union bosses’ coercive, government-granted powers over workers, especially in the airline and rail industries,” Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Foundation, said in a statement.

“Southwest and TWU union officials made Ms. Carter pay an unconscionable price just because she decided to speak out against the political activities of union officials in accordance with her deeply held religious beliefs. This decision vindicates Ms. Carter’s rights — but it’s also a stark reminder of the retribution that union officials will mete out against employees who refuse to toe the union line.”

According to the National Right to Work Foundation, Carter “resigned her membership” of the local TWU in 2013 “after learning that her union dues were being used to promote causes that violate her conscience and have nothing to do with her workplace.”

However, she was “still forced to pay fees” to the union “as a condition of her employment.” Although bound to payments, Carter was free to “criticize the union” since she was no longer a member. In 2017, upon learning that the union was planning to attend the Women’s March on Washington, D.C., Carter “took to social media to challenge” the leadership of union president Audrey Stone. Additionally, she emailed Stone directly after employees had received a message from the union “telling them to oppose Right to Work.”

After Carter’s email to Stone, the flight attendant was called by managers, who said “that they needed to have a mandatory meeting as soon as possible” regarding “Facebook posts they had seen.” Carter told management that her reason for challenging the union was based in her religious beliefs and objection to the union’s actions, which are supposed to “represent all Southwest flight attendants.” Stone alleged that Carter had harassed her through her messages, and Carter was fired a week later.

In July, Carter won a $5.1 million lawsuit against Southwest and TWU, when a Texas district court ruled in her favor on all counts and ordered the two organizations to pay her millions in damages, as reported by LifeSiteNews. However, Carter continued her legal battle even after this victory, hoping to return to her job.

But Carter is not the only pro-lifer who has suffered lost employment for defending the unborn. In October, a liberal news outlet published an article that presented the personal pro-life work of a local television reporter as work-related “partisan politics.” The reporter was fired shortly after. Similarly, an attorney was turned away from her position at a corporate law firm after she expressed her support for the overturning of Roe v. Wade.


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