Twenty-two captains and two operations supervisors at United Airlines (UAL) recently filed a lawsuit against the commercial carrier alleging discrimination based on race in the company’s promotion policies. The 24 African American employees claim that, since 2009, they have been denied or passed over for promotions because of their race and that United maintains a system that is geared toward preparing non-minority workers for upper management, intentionally discriminating against black employees.
In addition to racial discrimination, the suit alleges retaliation for involvement in a 2010 racial discrimination case against United. Approximately half of the 24 pilots involved in the current lawsuit, filed in California, were involved in the 2010 case as well.
Captain Leon Miller noted, “The struggle for inclusion at United Airlines is a long-standing issue that many have tried to address over a long period of time.” Captain Terry Haynie added, “”We have endured a habitual, longstanding pattern of discriminatory behavior at the hands of UAL.”
The recent filing alleges that few African American employees are promoted to upper management at United and that those African Americans who do hold positions in upper management were promoted to give a false impression that the airline does not discriminate based on race. Once promoted, African Americans in upper management are often excluded from social events and email working groups in which company actions and planning are discussed.
United denies the claims of workplace racial discrimination and says it intends to fight the lawsuit. United spokeswoman Megan McCarthy noted that, “United does not tolerate harassment or discrimination of any kind.”
Source: San Francisco BayView, “Black Pilots Sue United Airlines for Race Discrimination,” June 11, 2012