United Airlines Got Sued by the Federal Government for Ignoring Something No Employer Should

United Airlines Got Sued by the Federal Government for Ignoring Something No Employer Should

How would you want to come back to work day by day, figuring out that your co-workers–and customers–had seemingly seen photographs of you bare, and that there was nothing you would do to cease them seeing extra?

That was the scenario going through an unnamed United Airlines flight attendant–for years–according to a lawsuit that the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed towards the airline on Friday in federal courtroom. According to the swimsuit, the flight attendant (referred to solely as Jane Doe) carried out a consensual sexual relationship with a United pilot named Mark Uhlenbrock. During the relationship, which lasted from 2002 to 2006, she allowed him to take photos of her each bare and partially dressed and in provocative poses, believing the pictures would by no means be seen by anybody however the two of them. But Uhlenbrock started posting these pictures on-line with out her data. When she did discover out, she ended their relationship.

That was solely the starting of her troubles. According to the lawsuit, Uhlenbrock went proper on posting the photographs to “various websites” (presumably social media websites) for years and years. One of his posts urged passengers, “Look for her when you fly!” Another mentioned she was “a new reason to ‘Fly the Friendly Skies.'” Some of his posts recognized her by title, defined that she was a United Airlines flight attendant, and–just to ensure she could be simple to find–named her house airport.

This went on for a very long time. Make very very long time. Although the lawsuit does not specify what number of years it was, it is value noting that the FBI carried out an investigation that led to Uhlenbrock’s arrest in 2016–ten years after the flight attendant broke up with him. He was sentenced to 41 months in jail, which he is presently serving. The flight attendant sued Uhlenbrock 3 times, and he agreed to pay her $100,000.

If this is not harassment, what’s?

And what did United do 12 months after 12 months whereas one worker was exhibiting the world bare photos of one other worker? Absolutely nothing. It’s not that the airline did not find out about the bare photos and the posts. The flight attendant complained to the airline and requested her employer to make the harassment cease time and again over a number of years. According to the swimsuit, she confirmed United the posts with the photos of her, together with one through which she is partially wearing her flight attendant uniform, in the hope that the airline would care about how its uniform was portrayed, even when it did not care about her. She even tracked down IP addresses and time data that confirmed Uhlenbrock was posting the photos on firm time. Even so, removed from disciplining him, the airline let him retire with full advantages. 

It boggles the thoughts, however based on the lawsuit, none of Uhlenbrock’s habits constituted sexual harassment in the office, United executives instructed the flight attendant. According to the EEOC, “harassment is illegal when it is so frequent or severe that it creates a hostile or offensive work environment.” At least two of the flight attendant’s co-workers admitted to having seen the photographs of her that Uhlenbrock posted. If exhibiting bare photos of a co-worker to her colleagues, to not point out anybody else in the world with a social media account, does not rely as making a “hostile work environment” I am undecided what does.

United says it has a distinct account of the scenario, though the airline is up to now declining to say what that account is. Presumably, its attorneys are ready for their day in courtroom. In statements despatched to a number of information shops, an organization consultant mentioned that “United does not tolerate sexual harassment in the workplace,” which after all is what each firm in America says about sexual harassment. The consultant went on to say that the firm would “vigorously” defend itself towards the swimsuit. The airline has not commented as as to whether posting bare photos of a co-worker alongside along with her title and residential airport quantities to harassment in its view or not.

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