Two United Airlines flight attendants brought a lawsuit against the company last week, claiming they were denied positions on a charter flight for the Los Angeles Dodgers because the MLB players preferred “white, young, thin women who are predominately blond and blue-eyed.” The Dodgers are not named as defendants in the suit.
The flight attendants, Dawn Todd, 50, who is Black, and Darby Quezada, 44, of mixed Mexican, Black, and Jewish descent, alleged that they didn't have a “certain look,” and claimed the airline denied them roles based on racial and physical biases.
“United fosters an environment of inclusion and does not tolerate discrimination of any kind,” United Airlines said in a statement to Entrepreneur. “We believe this lawsuit is without merit and intend to defend ourselves vigorously.”
In the lawsuit filed with the Los Angeles County Superior Court, the flight attendants claim they were discriminated against after originally being chosen for the Dodgers charter flight program — but then taken off the schedule. Todd and Quezada emphasized their 15 years of combined experience with United and are seeking unspecified damages and a jury trial. The lawsuit claims the treatment they received has resulted in lost income and has negatively impacted their health, causing panic attacks, anxiety, sleep conditions, and a decline in self-esteem.
The lawsuit references a prior case; United Airlines settled an allegation in 2020 regarding the staffing of flights with attendants who were “young, white, female, and predominantly blonde and blue-eyed.” The current lawsuit draws from this settlement, noting a change in 2022 when several white flight attendants were “blatantly selected by United's management…because of how they looked.”
The lawsuit claims that, unlike Todd and Quezada, these newly added attendants did not have to interview for their positions, whereas the plaintiffs had to undergo “extensive” interviews to secure a position.