A transgender former American Airlines employee who was sacked in 2018 is suing the carrier for discrimination and unlawful termination. Monte Johnson, who identifies as female, filed the lawsuit in the Superior Court of Los Angeles on Tuesday claiming American Airlines discriminated against her based on her gender identity and started a campaign of retaliation when she challenged colleagues about inappropriate comments.
Johnson had worked as a Customer Service Agent at Los Angeles International Airport from 2012 until her dismissal in 2018. During her time at the airport, she claims colleagues frequently addressed her as he/him and one colleague repeatedly asked her if she had had her “sex change yet”.
The lawsuit claims after Johnson made a complaint about gender discrimination two of her managers started to micro-manage her and reprimanded her for any work-related situation. Prior to raising concerns about gender discrimination, there had been no concerns about her work performance the suit alleges.
During one incident in July 2016, Johnson was asked by a passenger to access his personal data. But she accidentally accessed the wrong information and phoned the wrong passenger by mistake. Despite immediately terminating the call, Johnson claims her manager started to retaliate against her based on her gender identity.
In another incident, Johnson was reprimanded for not stopping a passenger wearing a t-shirt with a political slogan printed across it from boarding a plane. A complaint was filed by one passenger and Johnson was picked out to be reprimanded despite several colleagues all coming to the same agreement that they wouldn’t intervene.
As the “harassment” got worse, Johnson says she became fearful that she’d lose her job and filed a complaint with her union. Shortly after and in “temporal proximity” to her complaint to the union, Johnson was fired.
She now claims to have been wrongfully terminated as retaliation for complaining about the gender, gender identity harassment and discrimination she allegedly suffered.
In a statement, a spokesperson for American Airlines said the Dallas Fort Worth-based carrier was reviewing the allegations of the complaint.
“American has an unwavering commitment to its LGBTQ team members and we’re committed to providing a safe and comfortable environment for everyone who works at our airline,” a statement from the airline continued.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.