United Airlines has been accused of ‘disproportionately’ terminating African-American flight attendants in a lawsuit brought by an ex-crew member who was sacked just days after filing a complaint about her supervisor over alleged mistreatment and discrimination.
Leslie Anthony, 57, is bringing the lawsuit against her ex-employer in a Michigan district court after she was sacked because her supervisor said she couldn’t get in contact with Leslie while she was at home recovering from a respiratory infection.
According to the lawsuit, Leslie joined United Airlines as a new-hire flight attendant in July 2022, but despite receiving “numerous positive reviews or commendations from the passengers she served”, Leslie was terminated just a week before she was due to pass her probation.
Leslie has accused United of racial discrimination, along with retaliation and age discrimination.
The African-American ex-flight attendant joined United in her fifties, but despite having no write-ups or discipline on her file prior to being terminated, Leslie claims write-ups were added to her personnel file after she was sacked.
United operates a points-based system for new-hire flight attendants and crew members who acquire six or more points within their probationary period face being terminated. Leslie says she was sacked with just 2.5 points on her file.
The way in which United treated Leslie wasn’t, however, an isolated incident according to the lawsuit, which claims other African American employees have experienced similar discrimination and that United has “a pattern or practice of terminating African American and older employees disproportionately to employees who were younger and not African American.”
This lawsuit comes just weeks after two other United flight attendants sued the airline, accusing the Chicago-based carrier of only wanting “white, young and thin” female crew members to work special sports charter flights for the LA Dodgers baseball team.
Darby Quezada and Dawn Todd have also accused United of racial discrimination and age discrimination, along with religious harassment, retaliation and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
Both women say they were passed up to work on highly coveted and financially lucrative sports team charter flights for the LA Dodgers because United managers who selected flight attendants to work on these flights preferred white or Asian flight attendants in their 20s or 30s, the suit alleges.
Just over three years after two other United flight attendants sued the airline over allegations that it was picking “youthful, white flight attendants – most of whom are blonde” to work NFL charter flights.
United Airlines declined to comment on the latest lawuit.
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.