Southwest Airlines

Transportation

Risk Level:

Rating - Danger
High Risk

Summary:

Southwest Airlines does not protect employees from viewpoint discrimination. A jury recently ruled that Southwest's termination of an employee for her pro-life views amounted to religious discrimination. Southwest does not have viewpoint protections for its employees. Southwest does support pro-LGBTQ advocacy groups and policies. The company has also issued a statement opposing state-level election security laws. Southwest does not donate to ideological PACs and does not appear to discriminate against religious groups in its charitable giving. For these reasons, Southwest Airlines receives a "High Risk" rating.

Criteria
Risk Level
Rationale
Corporate Weaponization
Criteria

Has denied service to customers, suppliers, or vendors due to their political views or religious beliefs OR corporately boycotts, divests, or sanctions regions, people groups, or industries.

Risk Level
Rationale

Southwest Airlines has not publicly¬†terminated business relationships due to religious beliefs or political views. The company received a score of 100 on the Corporate Equality Index from the Human Rights Campaign (HRC). Among other requirements, this means the company has pledged to vet vendors based on LGBTQ policies (1). Southwest complied with the federal vaccine mandate but did not appear to fire any employees and made accommodations for unvaccinated staff (2)(3). In October 2021, one of Southwest’s pilots allegedly said a political slogan criticizing President Biden over a plane intercom. The pilot was not fired by Southwest (4). A jury awarded a flight attendant a victory over Southwest and the Transportation Workers Union of America after she claimed she had been fired in 2017 for her pro-life views and criticizing the union for supporting pro-abortion protests (5)(6).

Criteria

Charitable giving (including employee matching programs) policies or practices discriminate against charitable organizations based on views or religious beliefs.

Risk Level
Rationale

Southwest Airlines focuses its charitable giving on disaster relief, environmental sustainability, military families, and serious illness. It does not prohibit financial donations to religious charities (1). However, it should be noted that the company’s e-pass ticket service for nonprofits excludes “religious endeavors.” It is unclear if this provision extends to faith-based charities (2).

Criteria

Employment policies fail to protect against discrimination based on political affiliation/views and/or religion.

Risk Level
Rationale

Southwest Airlines does not protect its employees from viewpoint discrimination (1).

Corporate Governance and Public Policy
Criteria

Uses corporate reputation to support ideological causes and/or organizations hostile to freedom of expression.

Risk Level
Rationale

Southwest Airlines has signed an open letter in support of the Equality Act (1). The company has also issued a statement broadly opposing state-level election security laws (2).

Criteria

Uses corporate funds to advance ideological causes, organizations, or policies hostile to freedom of expression.

Risk Level
Rationale

Southwest Airlines has partnerships with the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation and the HRC (1).

Criteria

Uses corporate political contributions for ideological, non-business purposes.

Risk Level
Rationale

Southwest Airlines does not donate to ideological PACs (1)(2).

All links were last accessed and all information was updated on:
December 28, 2022

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