A Christian flight attendant has filed a complaint against her union, alleging that forced payment of union fees constitutes a violation of religious freedom.
Annlee Post, who lives in Knoxville, Tennessee, works as a flight attendant for Allegiant Air.
She filed a lawsuit against the Transport Workers Union of America Local 577 (TWU), claiming the union is violating her rights under the First Amendment, Railway Labor Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, which describes itself as a “nonprofit, charitable organization providing free legal aid to employees whose human or civil rights have been violated by compulsory unionism abuses,” assisted Post with free legal aid.
According to the lawsuit, which was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee at Knoxville, Post works under a collective bargaining agreement that requires her to join or financially support the union or lose her bidding privileges.
“Loss of bidding privileges affects her compensation, terms, conditions, and privileges of employment,” reads the lawsuit, a copy of which was obtained by The Christian Post.
The complaint details how Post sent two written notices to the union — one on Mar. 23, 2019 and another on Sept. 18, 2019 — explaining the conflict between her religious beliefs and the requirement that she financially support the union. She offered to donate her union dues to a charity.
The lawsuit alleges that “although the Union knew about Ms. Post’s religious beliefs and failed to follow the procedure to lawfully demand fees, it demanded that Ms. Post pay union fees — from April 15, 2018 to March 15, 2019 — to the Union.”
“The Union has refused to accommodate Ms. Post,” the lawsuit continues. “It knew about Ms. Post’s religious beliefs and that she needed accommodation to avoid violating her religious beliefs. But instead of accommodating her, the Union has threatened to enforce the collective bargaining agreement and revoke her bidding privileges.”
The legal filing further argues that the union engaged in “religious harassment” and violated Title VII by demanding that the employee “violate her religious beliefs and pay it money to maintain her bidding privileges.” The legal group argues that under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, employers and union officials are required to accommodate sincere religious beliefs.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Ryan Foley