A lawsuit filed in California against United Airlines alleges that the company only allows young flight attendants who possess blonde hair to work charter flights for sports teams. Older attendants say they are not allowed to work on these flights.
The complaint alleging the employment law violation identifies two women as plaintiffs. One complainant is a Jewish woman who has worked for the airline for more than three decades. The second woman is African-American with 28 years of experience with the company.
Both women say they made repeated requests for positions on the above-mentioned flight crews only to have each of the requests denied. The women say a supervisor informed them they were not on the preferred list of the clients these crews serviced. The women allege that this list consisted only of attendants who are young and blonde.
United Airlines has contracts with teams from Major League Baseball, the National Football League, and the National Collegiate Athletic Association. About three dozen teams from these leagues use United as their air carrier of choice.
The flight attendants who work these flights earn higher wages and enjoy better accommodations. There are also times when the teams they service will award them with tickets to major sporting events.
The women complaining of the discrimination say that United is demeaning workers who have provided years of loyalty to the airline. These women also suggest that the workplace culture created by these actions is one that includes harassment, discrimination, and retaliation.
The attendants say they first took their grievances to United but were ignored. The women say this is the time they decided on legal action.
A spokesman for the airline says the company stands by its record for diversity and inclusion. The spokesman also explained that attendants who make up the crew for the company’s Sports Team Charter Program flights resemble the flight crews that make up other flights for the airline.
All employees are afforded equal opportunities and protections under the law. When employers do not honor these rights, remedies are available to workers. An employment law attorney may be able to assist employees who face some form of discrimination in the workplace.