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Pilot Sues United Airlines After He Was Terminated When He Filed a Disability Insurance Claim Just Six Days After He Was Enrolled in the Plan

Pilot Sues United Airlines After He Was Terminated When He Filed a Disability Insurance Claim Just Six Days After He Was Enrolled in the Plan

a plane at an airport

A pilot is suing United Airlines after being terminated shortly after he was grounded because he struggled to discern different colors while flying at night.

Damon Meyer of Portland, Maine, was hired by United on 12th April 2022, but his employment was terminated less than two months later when he filed a claim for long-term disability through an insurance plan he had just been enrolled in.

According to public records, Damon Meyer once set a world record for a cross-country flight in a single-engine prop aircraft. Meyer set the record after flying his tiny Canard prop plane between Ontario, California and Portland in 2015 by keeping the specially modified aircraft aloft for more than 12 hours.

Meyer has been a qualified pilot for many years, but he only decided to pursue a career as a commercial airline pilot in 2020 after transitioning from a long career in the information technology sector.

In 2022, Meyer secured a job as a pilot with United Airlines and was enrolled in the airline’s long-term disability plan a short time later.

Less than a month after being hired, however, the lawsuit says Meyer was forced to ground himself because he was having trouble discerning different colors. This was particularly an issue while flying at night because he couldn’t determine the colors of signals on taxiways.

A day after being grounded and only six days after being enrolled in the insurance plan, Meyer filed a claim through United’s long-term disability program.

United Airlines terminated Meyer’s employment the following month, claiming that Meyer would “not have met the requirements for a valid medical license at the time he was hired” – a claim that Meyer says is a “ludicrous theory”.

Meyer contests the reason for termination, saying that not only did he hold a valid medical license when United hired him but that there is no medical evidence that his eyesight problems existed before United offered him the job.

The lawsuit says it is “purely speculative” that Meyer would have failed a medical review if he had had one just before being hired by United.

The administrators of the long-term disability plan initially approved Meyer’s claims but withdrew the payout because his employment had been terminated.

Meyer has filed his lawsuit in a Maine district court, demanding that United and the administrators of the long-term disability plan pay him benefits for his color blindness. The lawsuit says Meyer remains “totally disabled”.

View Comments (21)
  • His color vision problem may be congenital. If so, United’s logic makes sense.

    I heard of someone who worked in a food plant and claimed disability after working one day. She said her hands hurt.

  • Never back off from big companies. I successfully sued my employer after they fired me 2 days after I returned to work from a workers compensation claim and I collected unemployment during the interim. They tried blacklisting me which kept me from obtaining work in my professional line of work. They lost big. If color blindness was never found before this, then it didn’t occur before employment

    • Not necessarily. Color blindness could occur but is subtle. The test used is very gross, not detailed. Color blindness is usually congental (born with it). There are few causes of acquired color blindness. The question then becomes if a company should be punished for unknowingly hiring someone with a birth defect that is discovered after hiring.

      • It is almost certainly not a birth defect that was discovered after hiring but a birth defect that was hidden until after hiring.

      • Inflammation of the optic nerve (optic neuritis) can cause color blindness. This is not a particularly rare condition. I have experienced this firsthand.

  • Hey may not even have any sort of colour blindness at all. They test for colour blindness with page after page of specially printed test colours. But if I say I can’t read the number, who can prove it? Likely he’s just gaming the system for a lifetime disability pension, then he’ll go right back to IT work and dounle-dip for life.

  • Also, it surprises me that the disability insurance company approved his claim because where I live you have to be disabled from all jobs you are skilled at. Meaning, he could go back to I.T. work where the color blindness isn’t an issue instead of collecting disability as a pilot. Apparently, the rules aren’t the same everywhere, which I suppose is typical.

  • So basically he knew he had this condition, lied about it when he got the position at United, put who knows how many people’s lives in danger in the process of trying to set himself up to get a paycheck for nothing via disability insurance, and now he is sueing the employer instead of being jailed for fraud? This is exactly why this country is going down the toilet, and now watch the throngs of idiots come to his defense.

    • But that is the American dream though! Look at our last President, he knew how to sue people and tie up the court systems! How many frivolous and fraudulent suits did he have thrown out? Fraud is as American as Apple pie!

      • Found em! There’s one in every bunch! A topic that has nothing to do with a person who’s no longer relevant and somehow still gets associated with and blamed for something he will probably never know even happened. Desperate, mind warped ,mouth breathing imbeciles who’ve failed to socially adjust to life as an adult on earth , never, and I mean never cease to amaze me. Proof that anyone can have a thought, but not everyone should share theirs. Give the political nonsense a break. Let it go. Dude is gone. Obsession is creepy place in which to base your world views.

    • Amen. Airlines are so desperate for pilots , they obviously missed this scam artist. Too bad he’s a white male, United would have paid out millions by now

  • Wow there are a lot of assumptions being made….
    From an insurance standpoint if this was never discovered before it’s a valid claim and if he is unable to fly then termination ad a pilot makes sense. What does not not make sense is not working a way to have the claim paid and possibly even offering the now former pilot another position within United that he is able to perform duties for even if the pay is way lower which is doubtful as a pilot with no seniority.
    Everything else is just negative assumption crap with no basis at the level of convicting someone for a crime because they look guilty.
    This community is so much better than that….

  • He may or may not have known about his vision deficiency. Either way its extremely unlikely (meaning impossible) that this developed in the one month at work, so not only was he not qualified for the job he applied for, he shouldnt have a valid disability claim either.
    Too bad he cant realize his dream. I will add flying that little single engine doesnt mean he can operate a big multi jet.

  • This isn’t how LTD works. Something is wrong. 1: who is the policy fiduciary? If United are dumb enough to actually self fund LTD, do he it. But uts rare. 2: What is the elimination period? That is the time someone needs to be disabled before they can start collecting benefits. Usually, an EP will be 90 days ir 180 days… ie 3 or 6 months. It’s rare (and extremely irresponsible) to offer 30 days, and even 60 days. ESPECIALLY for an awful industry covering freaking pilots!! And 3: Many firms that size self fund STD, or Short term disability. This coverage would usually last fir 13 or 26 weeks (3-6 months) BEFORE LTD would kick in.

    But the article stated he filed for LTD. And I haven’t even mentioned pre-ex. Bottom line… and this just barely scratches the surface…. but something is fishy.

  • Disability insurance is enrolled in day 1 at United. This guy never touched an airplane if it was just six days after he was enrolled; he was still in a classroom/ ground school. Either the reporting here is crap (high likelyhood) or the guy knew before he got hired (also very possible). The courts will easily resolve this correctly in either case.

  • This dude is such a fraud. I hope he fails miserably. I can’t stand people who lie and then pretend like they’re a victim.

  • I can’t stand people who read a short article and then pretend like they know exactly what is going on by filling in the gaps in the story with their own prejudices.

    It’s blatantly obvious the airline is just cutting corners and trying to screw an employee over. Anyone who disagrees is obviously a stooge for the airlines. It’s obvious!! (See how dumb that sounds?)

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