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United Airlines Accused of Racial, Age Discrimination in Latest Lawsuit

— September 15, 2020

United Airlines was recently hit with a lawsuit over allegations it has been stacking crews for its charter flights for sports teams with young, blonde, white women.

According to a recent lawsuit against United Airlines Holdings Inc., the airline has been packing its “its charter flights for sports teams with young, blond crews and bars older flight attendants from working the plum routes.” In doing so, the suit argues the airline “bases the value of workers entirely on their racial and physical attributes, and stereotypical notions of sexual allure.”

A United Airlines aircraft. Image via Pixabay. Public domain.

The suit was filed by two veteran flight attendants in California late last week. The attendants include a “Black woman who has worked for the airline for 28 years and a Jewish woman with 34 years of tenure.” According to them, “they both tried repeatedly and unsuccessfully to get assigned to work the charter flights.”

United pushed back against the allegations in a statement released Saturday. It read:

“While we cannot comment on this ongoing litigation, the flight attendants included in our sports team charter program are largely representative of our overall flight attendant population in regards to age and race. Importantly, flight attendant eligibility to work a charter flight is based solely on performance and attendance and has nothing to do with age, race, or gender.”

According to the suit, United has “contracts to provide air travel for some three dozen teams in the National Football League, Major League Baseball and National Collegiate Athletic Association.” The suit further argues that attendants who work for those flights “earn more and are provided with premium accommodations.” Some even occasionally get tickets to the games, “including playoff and Super Bowl tickets…and extremely valuable infield passes.”When the two flight attendants, Sharon Tesler and Kim Guillory, asked about joining the charters, they were allegedly told by their supervisors “that they were unable to get work on the charters because they weren’t on ‘preferred’ lists that were based on team preferences.” Eventually, the two learned that “young, white, blond attendants — with less seniority — were given the assignments.”

However, United pushed back and claims and said the “average age of flight attendants on its sports team charters is 46, that the average tenure of such attendants exceeds 19 years, and that it has a higher percentage of African Americans in its sports team charter program than in its overall flight attendant population.”

The women in the suit argue that even though they lodged complaints with the airline, they went ignored. The suit further states:

“United Airlines has adopted and continues to implement procedures that are designed to ensure that young, white, blond/blue-eyed, female employees receive positions with the charter program, while more senior, and Black and Jewish employees such as plaintiffs, do not.”

At the moment, the women are seeking monetary damages.


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