Free speech wins, even when it is critical of abortion. As it ought to.
Charlene Carter is a pro-life Christian who worked as a flight attendant with Southwest Airlines from 1996 until 2017. Her employment came to an abrupt end shortly after she learned that the president of her union, Audrey Stone of the Transport Workers Union Local 556, and other union officials had attended the Women’s March in Washington, D.C., and used union dues to attend.
The Women’s March is known for being notoriously pro-abortion, and Ms. Carter was upset that her union dues were going to support abortion.
And she let Stone know about it on social media.
“This is what you supported during your paid leave with others at the Women’s March in D.C.,” she wrote in one Facebook message to Stone, according to the Dallas Morning News. “You truly are despicable in so many ways.” She also sent Stone a video containing pictures of aborted babies.
Stone reported Carter’s comments to Southwest, telling the airline that she felt harassed by the posts.
Southwest fired Carter a week later. But she fought back and filed a lawsuit for wrongful termination, claiming the airline and the union discriminated and retaliated against her for her beliefs about abortion.
After a weeklong trial and 10 hours of deliberation, a federal jury awarded Carter a total of $5.1 million, consisting of $300,000 in lost wages and benefits, $1 million for past and future pain and suffering, and $3.5 million in punitive damages against the airline and $300,000 in punitive damages against the union, according to law360.com. She also might receive additional lost pay from the date of the trial forward, but that will be determined at future date.
Carter was required, as a Southwest employee, to pay dues to the union, even though she quit the union many years ago over its politics.
Carter was represented in the case by the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation (Foundation), which called the jury verdict a “tremendous victory” in a press release.
“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,” said Mark Mix, president of the Foundation. “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.”
Kudos to Ms. Carter and her attorneys for standing up for her rights. Employers and unions should take note of this case. The days of pro-abortion companies and unions discriminating against the pro-life beliefs and speech of employees are numbered.
The case is Carter v. Transport Workers Union of America Local 556.
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