Two veteran flight attendants, both women of color, are suing United Airlines, saying they were demoted off of working L.A. Dodgers team charter flights because the airline prefers “white, young, thin women” for that assignment.
Apparently it’s a pretty prized assignment to be airline flight staff on charter flight duty for professional and NCAA sports teams. Charter flight staff get perks like bonuses for longer flights, premium accommodations, a higher per diem rate, and even tickets to games and team merchandise.
But two veteran United Airlines flight attendants are suing the airline, saying they were demoted from L.A. Dodgers team charter flights over their age, ethnicity, and appearance, according to the Bay Area News Group. The plaintiffs Darby Quezada (44) and Dawn Todd (50) filed their suit Wednesday in a Los Angeles County Superior Court, alleging racial discrimination and religious discrimination. Quezada is Black, Mexican and Jewish, Todd is Black.
Both Quezada and Todd have been with United Airlines for more than 15 years.
“Major American corporations like United Airlines must understand that it is illegal to make staffing decisions based on an employee’s race and looks, even if it is meant to please major clients like the Los Angeles Dodgers,” their attorney Sam S. Yebri said in a statement. “United’s blatantly discriminatory staffing decisions allowed the cancer of racism and antisemitism to metastasize on the flights themselves.”
Quezada reportedly got the Dodgers charter flight gig in 2020, and Todd in 2022, after what they say were “extensive interviews.” Both were then demoted off that crew later in 2022, and replaced by attendants whom the two say did not even have to interview for the positions.
The lawsuit alleges that “When Todd and Quezada asked United why certain flight attendants were added to the ‘dedicated crew’ or ‘dedicated list’ without having to interview like they did, Todd and Quezada were told that these White flight attendants fit a ‘certain look’ that the Dodgers’ players liked.”
According to Business Insider’s writeup of the lawsuit the replacement flight attendants were "white, young, thin women who are predominately blond and blue-eyed."
For their part, a United Airlines spokesperson said in a statement that “United fosters an environment of inclusion and does not tolerate discrimination of any kind. We believe this lawsuit is without merit and intend to defend ourselves vigorously.”
The attendants are asking for unspecified damages and a jury trial. United was similarly sued in 2020 by attendants who said they were denied charger flight assignments based on their appearance. That suit was settled out of court.
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