Two experienced flight attendants from United Airlines have filed a lawsuit alleging that they were denied positions on a charter flight for the major US sports team, the Los Angeles Dodgers, due to player preferences for "white, young, thin" attendants.
The lawsuit, filed in the Los Angeles County Superior Court, claims that the airline and the baseball team discriminated against them on the basis of race and physical appearance.
The flight attendants, Dawn Todd, 50, who is black, and Darby Quezada, 44, of mixed Mexican, black, and Jewish descent, argue that they were denied the roles because they did not fit the "certain look" preferred by the Dodgers players.
Both Todd and Quezada have over 15 years of experience with United Airlines, which allegedly wasn't enough to prevent them from being shunned in leu of those who fit the racial and physical profile preferred by the passengers.
United Airlines, in response to the lawsuit, stated, "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 Los Angeles Dodgers, however, are not named as defendants in the case, and a team spokesperson told the Los Angeles Times that the team does not comment on pending litigation.
However this is not the first time that United Airlines has faced allegations of discriminatory practices.
In 2020, the airline settled a case that accused it of staffing flights with "young, white, female, and predominantly blonde/blue-eyed" attendants.
The current lawsuit cites the 2020 settlement as the basis for the new case, asserting that in 2022, "things changed again" when white United flight attendants were added to the "dedicated crew." However, unlike Todd and Quezada, these white attendants were not required to interview for the positions, according to the lawsuit.
The plaintiffs claim they could only obtain a position on the Dodgers flights after "extensive" interviews.
Further allegations in the lawsuit indicate that Todd and Quezada received fewer assignments on the Dodgers flights following their interviews and were eventually demoted without justification.
Todd also faced derogatory treatment from other employees and managers who referred to her as "the flight's maid."
The lawsuit contends that the treatment the flight attendants endured resulted in lost income and had a significant negative impact on their mental health, causing panic attacks, anxiety, and a decline in self-esteem.
As a result, Todd and Quezada are seeking unspecified damages and a jury trial to address the alleged discrimination they experienced.