Flight Attendants Accuse American Airlines of Gender Discrimination

American Airlines’ predominantly female flight attendants have their union accusing the company of sex discrimination. Their basis? An attendance policy that doesn’t apply to the mostly male pilots.

The Association of Professional Flight Attendants represents more than 27,000 flight attendants for American Airlines. The Association filed a complaint on February 22 with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission of the US. It stated that roughly 75 percent of the flight attendants are women.

The claim focuses on the new sick leave policy put into effect by the Fort Worth-based airline on Oct. 1. The union says the plan could easily enable flight attendants to receive discipline and perhaps discharged while the pilots have no such restrictions. The new policy gives points for work absences. These points will only add to the possibility of accumulated violations much more than before.

Lori Bassani, the Union president, states that the new policy treats the flight attendants as second-class citizens in comparison to the pilots of the same crews. While pilot absences are given understanding and managed professionally, should a flight attendant miss a day, they don’t get quite the same understanding treatment.

Basani argues that crew members regardless of their gender or position should receive the same respect as the others. She says it is unacceptable that American Airlines is clinging to such gender disparity tactics such as this in 2019.

American Responds to the Accusations of the Flight Attendants

In response to the complaint, American Airlines claims to reject any allegation of gender discrimination in their policies.

The company stated that have attendance policies that support their 24/7 operations like any Fortune 100 company. They claim their system makes it so they have the support and flexibility they need for the various flight attendants and to help them manage their time away from work. They also say the policy makes sure everything runs smoothly so they can provide customers with the support and excellent service they expect and deserve while flying with their company.

American failed to address the question as to if any flight attendants were fired or disciplined since the policy began.

The pilots union gave its support as well on the 22nd to their flight attendant co-workers.