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Union Files Charge Against American Airlines for Discriminatory Attendance Policy

TravelPulse logo TravelPulse 2/22/2019 Alex Temblador

The Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA) has hit American Airlines with a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) claiming the airline is discriminating against their flight attendants.

The APFA, which represents over 27,000 American Airlines flight attendants, claims the airline has violated federal law by holding their pilots, who are overwhelmingly male, to a different attendance standard than their flight attendants, 75 percent of whom are female.

Flight attendant serving coffee aboard an American Airlines flight: PHOTO: Flight attendant serving coffee aboard an American Airlines flight. (photo courtesy of American Airlines) © American Airlines PHOTO: Flight attendant serving coffee aboard an American Airlines flight. (photo courtesy of American Airlines)

American Airlines implemented a new attendance policy for flight attendants on October 1, 2018, that fast-tracks flight attendants to disciplinary measures and discharge, while pilots, on the other hand, have no restrictions or penalties for their attendance behaviors.

The APFA’s charge claims American Airlines’ policy will have a disparate impact on women which would put them in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The union requests that the EEOC see that American Airlines flight attendants deserve the same respect and policies as their mostly-male pilot counterparts.

“Our flight attendants work alongside outstanding pilots as a single flight crew, yet we are treated like second-class citizens when it comes to attendance,” APFA President Lori Bassani said in a press release.

“We deserve the same respect and professionalism as our other crewmembers, regardless of our gender, and it is unacceptable that American Airlines is perpetuating this gender disparity in 2019.”

Ultimately, the APFA hopes that the EEOC eradicates American Airlines’ attendance program.

This isn't the first clash the APFA has had with American Airlines this week. On Monday, they called out American Airlines for a risque skit by off-duty American Airlines flight attendants that showcased women and flight attendants in a demeaning manner.

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