Airlines

American Airlines Faces Workplace Harassment Lawsuits

American Airlines Faces Workplace Harassment Lawsuits
Workplace harassment complaints at American Airlines are mounting as the news of two lawsuits filed in United States District Court Eastern District of Pennsylvania have surfaced.

Workplace Harassment Spreads to Social Media

Chinery v American Airlines (June 2016) claims harassment and gender discrimination by a group of Philadelphia-based male flight attendants which ignited on social media during a union campaign where the plaintiff sought election.

Chinery claims an ongoing pattern of harassment and a hostile work environment at American Airlines where she was subject to defamatory comments and gender-based harassment such as being called, among other things, a “cunt.”

She filed a complaint with American Airlines Human Resources which, the lawsuit alleges, was largely ignored.

American Ignored Complaints

In a letter from Ana Burke-Leon, Sr. Specialist, International Human Resources at American Airlines, who was assigned to investigage the complaint, Chinery was told the matter had been closed.  Burke-Leon wrote, “though the facts do not support a harassment claim, I can tell you that the appropriate action has been taken to ensure that such conduct does not repeat itself.” It seems Ms. Burke-Leon may have spoken too soon.

The complaint alleges Chinery then faced retaliation which included threats of discipline and repeated drug and alcohol tests.  Chinery later discovered there had been no action taken by management regarding her complaint until months after she was told the matter was resolved.

More Harassment Complaints Emerge

In November, 2016, another suit was filed.  Medlin v. American Airlines, which alleges a campaign of online social media and workplace harassment including threats, slander and defamation of character. Medlin also experienced having her repeated requests for help through human resources ignored.

Both Chinery and Medlin were assigned to Miami-based HR Specialist Dan Cleverly. Their complaints were left unanswered for more than three months. Cleverly eventually responded to Medlin’s complaint and addressed the delayed response by stating — “I’m very sorry about that. I clearly missed it.”

Perpetrators Receive Promotions and Special Assignments

The suit alleges “similarly situated male flight attendants were not subjected to the same harassment via social media.” Two of the men named in the complaint have since enjoyed promotions to various positions in the training department and elite committee and special assignment positions.  Both men continue their heavy social media presence often using profanity and acting in violation of the airline’s social media policy.

Sources say at least eleven women have claimed to have been bullied and harassed by these particular men, yet American doesn’t seem to be addressing the situation.
Chinery and Medlin are represented by David Koller and Faye Riva Cohen of Philadelphia.

We’ll provide updates as court records are updated.

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