Group says airline discriminated against Muslim worker

Melissa Nann Burke
Detroit News Washington Bureau

A Muslim-American group plans Tuesday to file a discrimination complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against ExpressJet Airlines for allegedly failing to accommodate a Metro Detroit-area Muslim flight attendant who objects to serving alcohol based on her religious beliefs.

The Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations said the airline had directed employee Charee Stanley , to work out arrangements with the other flight attendant on duty to accommodate passengers’ requests for alcohol. The setup, it said, had worked without incident until Aug. 25, when ExpressJet placed Stanley on administrative leave for 12 months, after which her position may be terminated, according to CAIR.

“We have informed ExpressJet of its obligation under the law to reasonably accommodate Ms. Stanley’s religious accommodation request regarding service of alcohol,” Lena Masri, staff attorney for CAIR-Michigan said in a statement.

“Instead, ExpressJet has deliberately chosen to violate Ms. Stanley’s constitutional rights.”

The organization believes that ExpressJet Airlines revoked Stanley’s religious accommodation request based upon a complaint by a fellow employee that referenced the Islamic head scarf Stanley wears.

“There was outreach that was done to the company,” said Dawud Walid, executive director of CAIR-Michigan. “Their response was not positive.”

An ExpressJet official did not have an immediate comment Monday since the complaint had not been filed yet.

ExpressJet, headquartered in Atlanta, makes an average 2,200 daily flights, operating as American Eagle, Delta Connection and United Express and serving 190 airports including Detroit, Grand Rapids, Lansing, Saginaw, Kalamazoo and Traverse City.

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