Charee Stanley, a Muslim flight attendant, says ExpressJet suspended her for refusing to serve alcohol, which is against her religious beliefs. Photo: courtesy of CAIR-Michigan, via USA Today

Muslim flight attendant suspended for not serving alcohol

Video courtesy of Newsy via USA Today

A Muslim flight attendant said the Atlanta-based airline ExpressJet suspended her for refusing to serve alcohol, a practice that is against her religious beliefs.

Charee Stanley filed a discrimination complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission last week, saying she wants to do her job without serving alcohol, as she was doing before her suspension, her lawyer said.

Lena Masri, an attorney with the Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said no one "should have to choose between their career and religion." Employers, she told CNN, must "provide a safe environment where employees can feel they can practice their religion freely."

Stanley, 40, began working for ExpressJet nearly three years ago. She later converted to Islam and only learned earlier this year that her faith prohibits her both from serving alcohol and consuming it. She approached a supervisor on June 1, Masri said, and was told to work out an arrangement with other flight attendants.

"We know that this arrangement has worked beautifully and without incident and that it hasn't caused any undue burden on the airline," Masri said.

Charee Stanley, a Muslim flight attendant, says ExpressJet suspended her for refusing to serve alcohol, which is against her religious beliefs. Photo: courtesy of CAIR-Michigan, via USA Today

Charee Stanley, a Muslim flight attendant, says ExpressJet suspended her for refusing to serve alcohol, which is against her religious beliefs. Photo: courtesy of CAIR-Michigan, via USA Today

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But she said a co-worker filed a complaint on Aug. 2, saying Stanley was not fulfilling her duties. The complaint, which Masri characterized as "Islamophobic," also said Stanley had a book with "foreign writings" and wore a head scarf.

On Aug. 25, the airline told Stanley it was revoking its religious accommodation and placing her on administrative leave.

“She was disciplined as a result of following the instructions of ExpressJet," Masri told USA TODAY. "They directed her to do that -- she carried out what she was instructed to do by the airline, and she was ultimately disciplined for that.”

Masri said the alcohol complaint was the only one filed against her client.

"I don't think that I should have to choose between practicing my religion properly or earning a living," Stanley told CBS News. "I shouldn't have to choose between one or the other because they're both important."

Jarek Beem, an ExpressJet spokesman, told CBS that the airline couldn't comment on a personnel matter, but said, "At ExpressJet, we embrace and respect the values of all of our team members. We are an equal opportunity employer with a long history of diversity in our workforce."

(Greg Toppo writes for USA Today.)


  1. This woman’s religious liberty will most likely be protected….she’s not a Christian.

  2. The case was decided correctly; the requirement to serve alcohol is a BFOQ (Bona Fide Occupational Qualification) of her job and so her removal was justified. Her particular faith is irrelevant. One suspects Dubai Airlines, owned by Muslims who are serious businesspeople serves alcohol.

    It is not unlike one situation I observed at work once where a staffer who was a self-rigteous “Baby Christian” was asked to fetch a coworker for her surprise birthday party under some pretext but refused because “Christians aren’t supposed to lie.”

    This shows how much worse the case o Kim Davis is: She as an elected official violated her oath of office and is consting the county a pretty penny with her side job as fake martyr of the week for the religious right.

  3. I am just waiting for the usual Christian posters to do one of the following:
    1. Make some derogatory crack about Islam and accuse the flight attendant of trying to hijack the plane

    2. Make some hypocritical comment about being required to do their job duties or leave if their religious belief interferes with it. Something they would not say if the person was Christian.

    3. Omit the fact that the airline and the flight attendant were willing to make an accommodation to ensure passengers could get their booze. Distinguishing this situation from the Litigious Lump of Rowan County Kentucky.

  4. She was not trying to deny the public access to the service her religion forbids. She also did not initiate the conflict either nor was trying to violate innocuous civil laws in service of her beliefs.

    Dominic, when you get a clue as to what religious liberty means, you can make comments on it or the lack thereof. Nothing you have ever posted has demonstrated that.

    You constantly labor under the misapprehension that religious liberty means Christians can do any kind of maliciously harmful actions to others without consequences. In addition you expect legalized sectarian discrimination in their favor.

  5. A large part of this litigation will be whether the original religious accomodation was an undue burden on the employer to have the other flight attendant serve all the alcohol. ExpressJet is a regional airline that operates as United Express, American Eagle and Delta Connection. Their largest jet carries 76 passengers and there are going to be two FAs max. At least one fellow FA complained and the airline took some time to investigate it. It would seem that they might have uncovered other problems. What if she’s the only FA on board a smaller aircraft or flight? What if a whole bunch of passengers want alcohol? They have to wait now for the cart to come down the aisle because the other FA is still serving others. Ultimately it may have been untenable.
    Although she alleges religious bias in denying the accomodation, apparently they let her dress in a hijab for work.

  6. Note to self – Don’t fly Expressjet; bombing sure to follow.

  7. This is tough one. The airline clearly made an effort to accomodate this flight attendant and her beliefs. They tried to find a middle ground, and she was clearly willing to meet them half-way. But apparently the arrangement only lasted two months before another flight attendant complained.

    I’m sympathetic towards the flight attendant, but ultimately I have to side with the airline. She signed up to do a job that involved serving alcohol. The airline made a good faith effort to accomodate her, but she just couldn’t do her job without disruption.

    That said, the airline should really come up with a better way of dealing with this kind of issue in the future. It needs a more thought-out policy towards this kind of religious accomodation, as well as better cultural sensitivity training for its flight attendents.

  8. The employer clearly attempted to accommodate her, removal from her job was not thier initial response. However, in any job where employees share duites (such as serving different sections of the same plane) it is likely the complaint originated from a coworker who felt they were being saddled with an unequal amount of work based upon her coworker’s observence. If the plane served breakfast, would she be allowed to serve pork products such as bacon? The logistics and delays inhernet in providing customer service in both the alcohol and menu item options leads to an inate inequity in the distribution of work with any stewardess who would be assigned to work with her. What would happen if two stewardesses with the same prohibitions were assigned to the same flight, does the airlne then need to track the religion of its workforce in scheduling? That would be far less tenable in the long haul.

  9. Larry, your adoration of the loop holed Constitution does not impress me. It is no longer a vision of what the Founding Fathers thought democratic, it has become a highly ambivalent source that can be interpreted any way that suits the latest crybaby.
    Davis, free exercise of her religious liberty was denied…. this Muslim converted without even knowing the alcohol restrictions.
    Both could have been settle with common sense and personal charity. The Constitution is a nice memory, but is now a lawyer’s pocketbook.

  10. Dominic, your disdain for facts, moral thinking and rule of law are among many reasons why your opinion of me means nothing.

    The Founding Fathers had an outright hostility to people who used public office in service of their religious faith. They knew such activity was nothing more than sectarian discrimination. Hence they created a system which values personal exercise of belief but bans the government from endorsing any given faith. A system you have no regard for.

    You have forgotten the other half of the religious freedoms of the 1st Amendment (most theocratic fundies do), the Establishment Clause. An oath of public service is an oath to serve the entire public. One cannot use such a position as a personal pulpit or expect government to endorse one’s personal religious beliefs. This is why your support of the Litigious Lump is so repugnant to civil liberties.

    That being said, the flight attendant does not appear to have much of a case.

  11. Having a Muslim on any plane is not wise based on the history of said followers of Allah and his koranic dictates about killing all infidels.

  12. Dominic, there is not much difference between this woman, and Kim Davis. Both are trying to enjoy their First Amendment rights. Although when it comes to gravity of sin, this woman is worried about the splinter in her eye; whereas, Kim Davis is concerned about the log in her eye (Matt 7:5). For this woman to serve alcohol is merely a minor infraction, but for Kim to issue a marriage license to a gay couple, would constitute a grave sin.

  13. Again that is only because you are ignorant of religious freedom and have an aversion to facts.

    The flight attendant was not trying to make passengers suffer for her religion. She did not prevent other workers from distributing alcohol. She also didn’t break any laws or show disdain for the process used to resolve her situation. Given the integral nature of serving alcohol and the lack of manpower to make the accommodation work, she has no choice but to lose the job.

    Whereas Kim Davis broke several laws, the oath of her office, several court orders (and more to come), and she prevented anyone else in her jurisdiction from access to the licenses her religion allegedly forbade.

    Why must you lie so badly in the name of your faith?

  14. Larry, I’m saying that when this woman took the job, they apparently did not ask her to serve alcohol, otherwise she would not have gotten the job. I am fine with that, just as I am fine with Kim Davis not issuing marriage licenses to gay couples, as she was not told at the time of her taking office that she would have to engage in grave mortal sin during the course of it. And yes, First Amendment rights trump so called 14 Amendment rights that are novel and have very little to do with the understanding of it when it was crafted, i.e., to afford slaves the rights of other Americans. Otherwise at the time of its crafting and passing, all the states which had sodomy laws listed as a felonies, would have been struck down and discarded. But none did, and nearly every state had sodomy as a felony. In fact in 1986 the sodomy laws were upheld by the Supreme Court. So this most recent activist ruling flies in the face of the constant understanding of the 14th Amendment.

  15. Greg1, she isn’t claiming that she didn’t know serving alcohol was a job requirement. She’s claiming that she didn’t know it violated Islam to do so. I find that rather dubious. If anything, it means she became more devout and decided she couldn’t do it anymore. That doesn’t entitle her to anything more than what she’s already entitled to, a reasonable accomodation of religious practice.

  16. When flustered your response is to fling poo. It not my fault that you insist on lying in service of your faith. I am not accusing you of being a revisionist, I am saying you are entirely making crap up.

    Your position is repugnant immoral garbage which attacks any notion of liberties. No Dominic, Christians do not get special privileges to attack others in the name of their religion. Don’t like it, blame the founders for creating a system which does not kiss your posterior.

  17. And here I thought all sins were the same in the eye of God.

    And somewhere in the bible, it says that issuing marriage licenses to gay people is a grave sin.

    And apparently, religious liberty only applies to the people who agree with you.

    Hypocrisy, thy name is totally Christian.

  18. Greg1, you know nothing of the 1st Amendment.

    It does not apply to a government official carrying out the duties of their position (that violates the Establishment Clause you love to ignore). It certainly does not permit one to harm others in the name of their faith (when can I sacrifice your family?). There is no “religious freedom” issue here. Just whiny losers who can’t take a hint.

    Whatever you think you know about our Constitution and law is completely garbage. You are obviously repeating a canned argument used when people want to ignore concepts like “equal protection under the law” (from the 14th A).

    Equal protection means government must prove its need for a restriction on civil liberties. If the anti-gay crowd could have coughed up a legally valid justification for gay marriage bans they would not have lost in court.

    SCOTUS is allowed to revise its opinions over time. This is how segregation got affirmed in 1896 but shot down in 1954.

  19. Dominic,

    Is it any surprise that Larry supported the Muslim?

    Absolutely not a surprise at all. Anything to further the cause to crush Christians.

    Stayed on course Larry. No one doubted you would.

  20. Obviously. You can’ tread. Larry didn’t support her, but said she should lose her job.

    But in the upside down world of imaginary Christian victimization, I suppose that counts as support.

  21. Sister Charee Stanley was completely wrong. She should not have asked for others to serve alcohol. As a faithful Muslim, she should have denied access it to everyone on her flights.

    It is the duty of a faithful Muslim to ensure that nobody violates the will of Allah. Even infidels. After all it is the airline which is denying her religious freedom in refusing to participate in the service of alcohol and forbidding others to imbibe as well. They oppress her with their consideration of passengers and other workers on the plane. If Allah forbids something, the people must respect it. It is part of her religious freedom to prevent passengers from indulging in vile sins.

  22. Wow Patrick,

    You’re going to be labeled an Islamaphobe for sure. Ask any garden-variety anti-Christ here. Larry, Ben, Max, et al . . .

    And you didn’t even bash a Christian or Christianity either. Man are you going to be on their hate list.

  23. Bernardo,

    I’m just thinking out loud here, but I think “Kafir” is the word you are looking for. Everyone uses “infidel” but I think that is what the Christians used towards the Muslims back in days of yore. I was at a country club years ago and I had heard a Muslim employee use that as he was talking about someone he worked with. I enquired of a friend what I meant and he said it was derogatory to the extreme.

    “Kafir is an Arabic term (from the root K-F-R “to cover”) used in an Islamic doctrinal sense, usually translated as “unbeliever,” “disbeliever,” or “infidel” as well as a deeply derogatory term employed by proponents of conservative Islam against non-Muslims, particularly westerners.”

  24. Ben, of course there are different degrees of sin. Some are mortal, some are venial. Here, read 1 John 5:16: “If any one sees his brother committing what is not a mortal sin, he will ask, and God will give him life for those whose sin is not mortal. There is sin which is mortal; I do not say that one is to pray for that.”

  25. Larry, you might not like my understanding of the Constitution, but it is one that understands it from it inception, up until now. You and the Leftist Justices, on the other hand, want to believe only how things have been interpreted since 2003. But we cannot do such a thing, or we would be considered ignorant. Let me put it to you this way. Since the time our Constitution was written, along with the various Amendments, the only Amendment that had anything to do with gay marriage, and the gay lifestyle, has been the First Amendment, and that has been to afford denial of gay rights by means of the First Amendment. The Fourteenth Amendment was written post Civil War, and was for slaves to have equality. And for the 50 plus years after the 14th was decreed constitutional, sodomy remained a felonious crime. So we can summarize that ONLY the 1st Amendment applied to gay life, and not the 14th. That is, until these activist justices, decided to stretch it beyond its intended limits.

  26. As long as the fliers can get their alcohol from one of the other stewardesses, then I would accommodate her with the First Amendments rights she has, the same goes for Kim Davis.

  27. I agree with you Greg1.

    The sin of imbibing alcohol is a sin against Allah. Sharia Law forbids it. You must agree it was her religious duty to keep others from drinking. She didn’t need to ask for an accommodation. By her right as a devout Muslim, and under religious freedom, she should have refused to let any passengers drink. She must keep them from indulging in vile sin. Her beliefs are protected by the 1st Amendment. Where Allah commands, all must submit to his will.

    Kim Davis would make an excellent jihadi. She understands that the will of Allah is more important than the needs of everyone else. That the only true laws one must follow are the ones from above. The command of the one true God.

  28. Greg, you have NO understanding of the Constitution. At this point you are not merely misinformed, you are telling outright lies.

    What part of Equal Protection Under the Law do you not understand? That means the laws apply to all people. Not one set of laws to protect Christians and one for everyone else.

    Law is not Bible study. We don’t depend on how people 200 years ago thought. We consider their words (and constant revisions thereof) in light of our current lives. Tradition and what was done in the past means ABSOLUTELY NOTHING unless one has rational and secular reasons for justifying it further. SCOTUS is allowed to interpret the law in light of current situations. THAT IS THEIR JOB!

    This is why you guys lost in court. Not because of “Leftists” or “Judicial activism”. Because the arguments for gay marriage bans were so effing silly, irrational and warmed over bigotry given color of law. You still can’t give me a rational and secular purpose behind them.

  29. Except Kim Davis is preventing others from getting their licenses from her office. Analogy fail for Greg1

  30. Larry, let me spell it out for you (it seems like years since I visited a kindergarten class), the 14th Amendment was crafted to afford equal rights to all people, regardless of RACE. This Amendment was to establish equality of RACES. The clue, in case you missed it, is the words, “born or naturalized in the United States.” That targets people, whether born here, or naturalized, from another country. This Amendment was never intended to afford heterosexual rights to homosexual persons. If it did, then all the Felonious Sodomy Laws would have been struck down in 1868, but of course they never were.

  31. Show me where race is mentioned in the 14th amendment. Your arguments need to ignore over a century of application far beyond racial equality.

    Kim Davis has no 1st amendment issues either. As a government official she ran afoul of the Establishment clause (it still exists no matter how many times you ignore it). Free exercise is not license to harm others. Interpretations of the Constitution require a real world conflict to decide.

    The existence of the 14th amendment doesn’t invalidate a law until SCOTUS decides a case in front of them on the subject.

    Stop pretending you know anything about the law here. You are nothing but a lying bigot who wants special protection for Christians to act badly. There is no rational or remotely legal justification for it.

  32. Wahoooo! I’m an anti-christ!!!!

    Even though I am just a garden variety antichrist, nevertheless,I got a promotion!

    Do I get a certificate or sumpin’ in the mail, or is there going to be a chorus of demons that delivers it to me?

    Are there going to be any perks, like a discount on items from (insert the name of your favorite No-True-Christian church here?)

    Can I get low fat souls to eat? My doctor says I have to stay away from the christies and the huckabees.

    You super-duper-better-than-thou-so-called-Chrsitians are so adorable when you’re enraged.

  33. Goshamighty.

    And sodomites, anti-christs, and no-true-Christians are the extremely derogatory terms used by so-called Christians.

    super-duper-Religious people are adorable in the wonderful ways they come up with to totally ignore the logs in their own eyes while looking for the specks in others.

  34. Isn’t that nice? Religionists can cite their religious beliefs for failing to do their jobs and treating other people badly.

    it’s almost like they are saying that the laws that govern all of us don’t apply to them. In fact, their own religion, which requires that they render undo Caesar, doesn’t even apply to them.

    That’s so……special.

  35. Greg: “the 14th Amendment was crafted to afford equal rights to all people, regardless of RACE. This Amendment was to establish equality of RACES.

    Actually, Greg, you’re quite wrong about that. But then, it’s you.

    There is a whole discussion HERE:

    Congress at the time debated the race issue, and they decided not to make it just about race. The states were bound by the 14th amendment on purpose.

    The question of race in the 14th amendment is very much like the question of the US being a Christian nation. The people who make these claims seem not to notice that the lawmakers could have included all of that,


  36. Larry and Ben,
    Justice William Douglas described the 14th Amendment in his autobiography:
    “The Fourteenth Amendment was passed to give blacks first-class citizenship.”
    It doesn’t get any clearer than that. His argument was against the Framers.

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