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article imageMuslim flight attendant suspended for refusing to serve alcohol

By Megan Hamilton     Sep 7, 2015 in World
Detroit - A Muslim flight attendant was suspended from her job at ExpressJet after a fellow employee complained about her refusal to serve alcohol.
On Tuesday, Charee Stanley filed a discrimination complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
That's according to the Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), The New York Daily News reports.
On Aug. 2, another ExpressJet flight attendant told company officials that Stanley wasn't doing her job, and was wearing a head scarf and reading a book of "foreign writings," The Detroit News reported. Lena Masri, a CAIR attorney said the claims were "Islamophobic," according to the newspaper.
ExpressJet placed Stanley on administrative leave on Aug. 25 instead of allowing her to keep sending other on-duty flight attendants over to customers ordering alcohol, officials with the advocacy group said.
Stanley, 40, began working for the company almost three years ago. She converted to Islam about two years ago. Then she found out this year that her faith prohibits her from consuming or serving alcohol, Masri told CNN.
So Stanley talked to her supervisor on June 1 and was told to make arrangements for someone to fulfill passenger requests for alcohol.
"It was at the direction of the airlines that she began coordinating with the other flight attendant on duty so that when a passenger requested alcohol, the other flight attendant would accommodate that request," Masri said. "We know that this arrangement has worked beautifully and without incident and that it hasn't caused any undue burden on their airline. After all, it was the suggestion of the airline."
Denying Stanley's request is a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which prohibits employers from discriminating against employees based on sex, religion, color, and national origin, CAIR said, according to The Detroit News.
"We notified ExpressJet Airlines of its obligation under the law to reasonably accommodate Ms. Stanley's religious beliefs," Masri said, per The International Business Times. "Instead, ExpressJet chose to violate Ms. Stanley's constitutional rights, placed her on administrative leave for 12 months, after which her employment may be administratively terminated."
"I don't think that I should have to choose between practicing my religion properly or earning a living," Stanley said at a news conference. "I shouldn't have to choose between one or the other because they're both important."
One flight attendant spoke anonymously about the incident, per the Times:
"Why be a [Flight Attendant]? That's our job. Finding another attendant to serve alcohol isn't that simple. She needs to find a new job, simple as that. ExpressJet has 1-2 flight attendants on board," the attendant said. "There's about 70 passengers on board those planes and those flights are pretty quick. So there's going to be times when her other attendant literally has no time to help because they have to serve first class. Maybe she should go mainline because there's more attendants on board that could help."
An ExpressJet spokesman declined to discuss Stanley's complaint, CNN reports.
"At ExpressJet, we embrace and respect the values of all of our team members," spokesman Jarek Beem said in an email. "We are an equal opportunity employer with a long history of diversity in our workforce. As Ms. Stanley is an employee, we are not able to comment on her personnel matters."
The EEOC takes 180 days to review and investigate when an employee files a discrimination complaint, The New York Daily News reports.
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