Connect with us

Airlines

United Airlines to Pay $305,000 Buddhist pilot to Settle EEOC Religious Discrimination Lawsuit

Airline Agrees to Accommodate Buddhist Pilot’s Religious Beliefs

United Airlines CEO Apologizes for Taking Private Jet During Flight Disruptions

NEW YORK – United Airlines will pay $305,000 to a Buddhist pilot and will provide other relief to settle a religious discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.

American Airlines to pay $7.5M in class action settlement over bag fees(Opens in a new browser tab)

Advertisement

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, the pilot was diagnosed with alcohol dependency and lost the medical certificate issued by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). One of the requirements of United’s HIMS program for its pilots with substance abuse problems who want to obtain new medical certificates from the FAA is that pilots regularly attend Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). The pilot, who is Buddhist, objected to the religious content of AA and sought to substitute regular attendance at a Buddhism-based peer support group. United refused to accommodate his religious objection and, as a result, the pilot was unable to obtain a new FAA medical certificate permitting him to fly again, the agency charged.

This alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination based on religion. Under Title VII, employers must make a reasonable accommo­dation for an employee’s sincerely held religious beliefs, so long as doing so does not impose an undue hardship on the employer’s business. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey (EEOC v. United Airlines Inc., Civil Action No. 20-cv-9110) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The case was litigated by EEOC Trial Attorney Sebastian Riccardi, supervised by Supervisory Trial Attorney Sara Smolik.

Advertisement

Scandinavian Airlines files for bankruptcy in US as 1,000 pilots walk-out(Opens in a new browser tab)

Under the consent decree that resolves the lawsuit, United will pay the pilot $305,000 in back pay and damages and will reinstate him into its HIMS Program while allowing him to attend a non-12-step peer recovery program. The company will also accept religious accommo­dation requests in its HIMS Program going forward, institute a new policy on religious accom­modations, and train its employees.

Advertisement

“Employers have the affirmative obligation to modify their policies to accommodate employee’s religious beliefs,” said EEOC New York Regional Attorney Jeffrey Burstein. “If they require their employees to attend AA as part of a rehabilitation program, they must make sure that they allow for alternatives for their employees who have religious objections to AA.”

Acting EEOC New York District Director Timothy Riera added, “We are pleased that United will now accommodate its pilots who have religion-based objections to mandatory AA attendance.”

Advertisement

The EEOC’s New York District Office is responsible for processing discrimination charges and the conduct of agency litigation in New York, northern New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine.

Advertisement

He is an aviation journalist and the founder of Jetline Marvel. Dawal gained a comprehensive understanding of the commercial aviation industry.  He has worked in a range of roles for more than 9 years in the aviation and aerospace industry. He has written more than 1700 articles in the aerospace industry. When he was 19 years old, he received a national award for his general innovations and holds the patent. He completed two postgraduate degrees simultaneously, one in Aerospace and the other in Management. Additionally, he authored nearly six textbooks on aviation and aerospace tailored for students in various educational institutions. jetlinem4(at)gmail.com

Airlines

United Flight Diverts to Shannon, After Stuck Laptop in Business Class Seat

United Flight Diverts to Shannon, After Stuck Laptop in Business Class Seat

A United Airlines flight from Zurich to Chicago O’Hare was forced to make an emergency diversion to Shannon, Ireland.

On Saturday afternoon after a passenger got their laptop wedged in a Business Class seat aboard the Boeing 767-300. Operating as United Flight 12, the aircraft departed from Flughafen Zürich at 9:46 a.m. local time and took off at 10:08 a.m.

Advertisement

The captain decided to divert the flight not because the passenger couldn’t access their laptop, but because any device powered by lithium-ion batteries that becomes inaccessible could pose a significant safety risk.

Such devices, if damaged or overheated, could lead to a thermal runaway event, potentially causing a fire on board. The Boeing 767-300, featuring United’s relatively new Polaris business-class cabin, landed safely at Shannon Airport in County Clare at 1:43 p.m. IST (Irish Summer Time) and reached the gate at 1:51 p.m.

Advertisement

In a statement, United Airlines acknowledged the diversion: “United flight 12 scheduled from Zurich to Chicago landed safely in Shannon to address a potential safety risk caused by a laptop being stuck in an inaccessible location.” This situation led to the cancellation of the flight, and the airline is working to reroute the 157 passengers who found themselves unexpectedly in Ireland.

Frequent flyers are often reminded in airline safety videos not to move their seats if they lose mobile phones or other gadgets powered by lithium-ion batteries within the seats. Attempting to retrieve such items by moving the seat can damage the battery and potentially cause a dangerous situation.

Advertisement
Continue Reading

Airlines

Air India Flight Collides with Tug Tractor, at Pune Airport

Air India Flight Collides with Tug Tractor, at Pune Airport

An Air India flight bound for Delhi faced an unexpected hurdle during its taxi towards the runway at Pune Airport on Thursday, May 16th.

The aircraft, carrying 180 passengers, encountered a collision with a tug tractor, though fortunately, no injuries were reported among the passengers or crew. The incident, while causing significant damage to the aircraft, triggered swift emergency protocols, ensuring the safety of all individuals involved.

Advertisement

Upon the mishap, passengers were promptly disembarked from the plane, and alternative arrangements were made for their accommodation as they found themselves stranded at the airport. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has initiated an inquiry to ascertain the cause of the collision, according to ANI reports.

Preliminary findings suggest that the tug truck, utilized for maneuvering the aircraft on the ground, inadvertently struck the plane during the taxiing process. Despite the incident, airport operations continued with minimal disruption. However, the affected aircraft was temporarily withdrawn from service for comprehensive inspection and necessary repairs.

Advertisement

Air India, in response to the situation, assured passengers of full refunds and complimentary rescheduling. The airline’s statement conveyed, “There was an incident related to one of our aircraft, which was to operate Pune to Delhi, at the time of its pushback. The aircraft was held back for checks, all passengers were offloaded safely, and the flight was cancelled.”

Passengers affected by the cancellation were provided with refunds and the option for rescheduling their travel plans without additional charges. The damage to the aircraft, primarily located near the belly where the pushback tug made contact, underscores the need for a thorough investigation into the circumstances surrounding the collision.

Advertisement
Continue Reading

Airlines

After Flight Cancellation, Virgin Atlantic Passengers Told to Arrange Own Hotels

After Flight Cancellation, Virgin Atlantic Passengers Told to Arrange Own Hotels

Ian Field and his partner Jane, both residents of the London area, faced an unexpected and costly ordeal while on a trip to St. Lucia in the Caribbean.

The couple, who had flown out from Heathrow on Virgin Atlantic flight VS221 on May 5, discovered upon arrival that their May 15 return flight was canceled for “operational reasons.” Despite Virgin Atlantic’s explanation, Field suspected the cancellation was due to a lack of passengers, as the airline is set to cease the route after May 19.

Advertisement

Stranded on the island, Field and Jane were left to fend for themselves for two additional nights. Both Virgin Atlantic and their travel agency, Blue Bay Travel, failed to provide assistance or accommodation, forcing the couple to pay over £400 out of pocket for their hotel stay.

Virgin Atlantic advised those without sufficient funds to seek financial help from family members, which added to the couple’s frustration. “We feel completely abandoned and let down terribly,” Field expressed to The Independent.

Advertisement

The lack of response from Virgin Atlantic and the unhelpful attitude of the travel agent exacerbated their distress. Although Field and his partner could afford the unexpected expense, he expressed concern for those who might not be in a similar financial position.

In response, a Virgin Atlantic spokesperson stated that all affected customers were rebooked on alternative flights and could amend their bookings through the airline’s “rebook me” function if needed. The spokesperson apologized for the delay and inconvenience, assuring that customers would receive EC261 compensation of £520 per person and be reimbursed for any out-of-pocket expenses incurred.

Advertisement
Continue Reading
Advertisement

Advertisement

Trending