united airlines, la dodgers

United Airlines Accused Of Discriminating Against Minority Flight Attendants On LA Dodgers Charter Flights

Chicago-based United Airlines has been named in a lawsuit filed with the Los Angeles Superior Court for discrimination against flight attendants on L.A. Dodgers charter flights. 

Two veteran flight attendants claim that United Airlines replaced minority staff members aboard the flight with younger, white women, as requested by members of the L.A. Dodgers who were not named in the lawsuit, according to CBS News.

The flight attendants say their replacements were “young white thin women who did not have to interview for the highly coveted positions.”

The lawsuit also alleges that racist, discriminatory, and anti-Semitic actions were carried out toward minority counterparts on the charter flights.

This is the second time United Airlines has been accused of discriminatory practices within its athletic team charter flights. In 2020, the arline was accused of replacing Black and Jewish flight attendants with people who “fit a specific visual image.” The airline sought “young, white, female, and predominantly blonde/blue-eyed” to replace minority staff members.

Darby Quezada, a woman of Black, Mexican, and Jewish descent, is one of the plaintiffs in the latest lawsuit. She claims she was called the “flight’s maid” because they needed a “Mexican to clean the bathrooms.” She was told “We are in America” and was asked to stop speaking Spanish with one of the players during a flight. Quezada says she was also on the receiving end of comments such as “You don’t look Jewish.”

A co-plaintiff, Dawn Todd, spoke out about Black flight attendants being denied benefits on the L.A. Dodgers flight. She said her outward disapproval of United’s actions, along with speaking out about her encounter with racism and ageism, resulted in retaliation from the company. 

“It shouldn’t be based on the color of my skin, I can’t change it, she can’t change it,” Todd told KCAL News. She was accompanied by Quezada and attorney Sam S. Yebri, who is representing both plaintiffs in the case. Todd and Quezada said that despite being among the best attendants, being experienced, and having already been chosen for the flight, they were replaced by less experienced flight attendants who fit a certain “look.”

Upon reviewing the list of flight attendants, Quezada noticed that “three blonde hair, blue-eyed, Caucasian individuals” had been added. 

“There’s either discrimination against them specifically because they were demoted and we need to understand why, because they have perfect records, employment records here,” said Yerbi, the attorney.

“Or the system is broken. Either the Dodgers were making decisions and United was deferring to them, or — what we know is it was not random.”

Yerbi continued, “Major America[n] corporations like United Airlines must understand that it is illegal to make staffing decisions based on an employee’s race and looks, even if it is meant to please major clients like the Los Angeles Dodgers. United’s blatantly discriminatory staffing decisions allowed the cancer of racism and anti-Semitism to metastasize on the flights themselves.”

“United fosters an environment of inclusion and does not tolerate discrimination of any kind. We believe this lawsuit is without merit and intend to defend ourselves vigorously,” the airline said in response to requests for a statement.

Todd and Quezada are requesting a jury trial and compensation for damages.

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