Two veteran flight attendants dumped for younger blondes claim United Airlines discriminated against them on the basis of age.
Both flight crew are over the age of 39 and are suing the airline in a Californian court, reports USA Today.
They want compensation in addition to punitive penalties.
Flight attendants dumped for younger blondes
The women say the age discrimination involved special charter flights for professional sporting teams.
For example, the National Football League, Major League Baseball and National Collegiate Athletic Association.
The lawsuit says United assigns “young, white, female, and also predominantly blonde/blue-eyed” cabin crew to the special flights.
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One of the plaintiffs is Kim Guillory, a black woman who has worked at the carrier for 28 years.
She described the airline’s policy as “blatant discrimination”.
The other plaintiff is Sharon Tesler, who has worked for United for 34 years.
She described the alleged discrimination as “dehumanising” and also “demoralising”.
Not on ‘preferred’ list
Both Guillory and Tesler claim the airline “repeatedly denied” them the opportunity to work the “plum assignment” flights.
The pair also allege supervisors told them they are not on the “preferred” list for the shift.
Guillory told USA Today:
“Every time a new flight attendant was added to the crew that they all look like sisters, they were all white female and blondes, and I thought, well that’s strange.
“I’m based in San Francisco, and you’ll be hard-pressed to find all-white, blonde females considering that San Francisco is one of the more demographically diverse group of flight attendants.”
United flight attendants who staff the charter flights earn more money and receive premium accommodation.
They can also end up with sort-after tickets to games, for example, playoffs and the Super Bowl.
Airline denies discrimination
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for United Airlines denied the company discriminates based on age.
Furthermore, they noted the company’s commitment to diversity and inclusion.
“The flight attendants included in our sports team charter program are largely representative of our overall flight attendant population in regards to age and also race.
“Importantly, flight attendant eligibility to work a charter flight is based solely on performance in addition to attendance and has nothing to do with age, race or gender.”
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