Posts Tagged ‘United Airlines’

Airline Tagged by EEOC for Allowing Male Pilot to Harass Flight Attendant By Spreading Photos

The skis weren’t friendly for this female flight attendant, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has charged.

United Airlines, Inc., an international airline operating in over 300 airports across five continents, violated federal law by subjecting a female flight attendant to a hostile work environment of sexual harassment over a multi-year period, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed August 9.

According to the lawsuit, a United captain frequently posted sexually explicit images of a United flight attendant to various websites, making reference to the flight attendant’s name, home airport, and sometimes referencing the airline’s tagline “Fly the Friendly Skies.” The lawsuit alleges that the posts were seen by co-workers and adversely affected the flight attendant’s working environment. United failed to prevent and correct the pilot’s behavior, even after the flight attendant made numerous complaints and provided substantial evidence to support her complaints, the EEOC said.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employment discrimination based on sex, including sexual harassment. The EEOC filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, San Antonio Division (EEOC v. United Airlines, Inc., Civil Action No. 5:18-cv-817) after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement through its conciliation process.

The lawsuit asks the court to order United to provide the flight attendant with appropriate relief, including compensatory and punitive damages, and a permanent injunction enjoining the company from engaging in any further gender-discriminatory practices. The EEOC also asks the court to order the company to institute and carry out policies and practices that eradicate and prevent sexual harassment in the workplace.

“Employers have an obligation to take steps to stop sexual harassment in the workplace when they learn it is occurring through cyber-bullying via the internet and social media,” said Philip Moss, a trial attorney in the EEOC’s San Antonio Field Office. “When employers fail to take action, they fail their workers and enable the harassment to continue.”

EEOC Supervisory Trial Attorney Eduardo Juarez added, “Here, United was aware of the intimate details of how its pilot was harassing its flight attendant, but took no responsibility to put a stop to it. As a result, over a period of many years, the flight attendant had to work every day in fear of humiliation if a co-worker or customer recognized her from the pilot’s postings. This is unacceptable, and the EEOC is here to fight such misconduct.”

Settlement Restores Lost Pension Payments to United Airline Pilots Returning From Military Duty

Pilots returning from military service got justice last week in the form of a settlement restoring the full amount they were due in contributions to their pension plans–another reminder of how the law can be used in positive ways to impact veterans’ lives.

In one of the largest settlements ever reached under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reeemployment Act (USERRA), United Airlines last week agreed to pay $6 million to make up for shortfalls in the pensions of pilots who were returning from duty in the National Guard and Reserves.

The settlement will benefit about 1,160 reservists, most of them pilots, who were called up for active-duty service for more than 30 days between 2000 and 2010 while working for the airline.

At issue was United’s contributions to the employees’ 401(k) pension accounts. Under USERRA, companies must continue to provide routine contributions to retirement accounts during reservists’ military service.

United Airlines was providing mobilized reservists with pension contributions that were too small, calculating the amount based on a minimum wage for union employees rather than the individual employees’ actual salaries or wages immediately prior to deployment, according to a lawsuit filed by the employees.

You can read more about the lawsuit and settlement in the Navy Times.

To learn more about the laws and some economic incentives regarding hiring of returning veterans, see my post from last year’s Memorial Day

Black Pilots Charge Promotion Discrimination at United Airlines

Airline mergers are often messy affairs, leaving legal proceedings in their wake. So this week comes the news that about two dozen African American pilots are suing United Continental Holdings, parent company of United Airlines, charging they were passed over for promotion because of their race.

In their suit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, the veteran aviators alleged a long history of  discriminatory behavior across multiple states.
“The struggle for inclusion at United Airlines is a  long-standing issue that many have tried to address over a long  period of time,” Captain Leon Miller, a plaintiff, said in a  statement.

Most of those involved in the suit worked for pre-merger  United. The complaint specifically addresses promotion issues  dating to 2009.

Additionally, nearly half of the plaintiffs were part of a  2010 federal equal employment racial discrimination case against  United, and are claiming the carrier has punished them by  withholding promotions and special assignments.

United said in a statement that it does not tolerate  harassment or discrimination.

7th Cir: Preferential Assignment Policy OK Under ADA

Does the Americans With Disabilities Act require an employer to reassign an employee who is need of an accommodation?

No, ruled the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit this week.  In this case, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed an ADA suit against United Airlines, challenging its guidelines placing an employee needing an accommodation in a competitive bidding process.

In this situation, United Airlines doesn’t automatically transfer the employee to a vacant position; rather, it gives the employee preference over similarly qualified applicants.

The Seventh Circuit said this is not an ADA violation, since the statute does not mandate reassignment of an employee who, because of a disability, cannot perform a job’s essential functions without an accommodation.

Here’s the full text of the ruling.