CHICAGO (Reuters) – A United Airlines (UAL.N) flight attendant is accusing the airline of failing to protect her from sexually explicit pictures that a pilot posted of her online, according to a lawsuit filed in a San Antonio, Texas, federal court.
FILE PHOTO: A United Airlines aircraft taxis as another lands at San Francisco International Airport, San Francisco, California, U.S., February 7, 2015. REUTERS/Louis Nastro/File Photo
The lawsuit, filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), said United failed to prevent and correct the pilot’s behavior, even after the flight attendant made numerous complaints.
United said in an emailed statement that it had reviewed the allegations in the complaint and disagreed with the EEOC’s description of the situation, without providing further detail.
“United does not tolerate sexual harassment in the workplace and will vigorously defend against this case,” spokeswoman Erin Benson said in the statement. She said the airline could not comment further. The EEOC could not be reached for a response.
The flight attendant and pilot were in a relationship while working for the airline. She ended the relationship after he refused to stop the posts, which included her name, occupation and home airport, the lawsuit said.
According to the complaint, one post told prospective airline passengers to “look for her when you fly!” because she was the “new reason to ‘Fly the Friendly Skies,’” in reference to United’s advertising slogan.
The posts, made on various websites, were seen by co-workers and adversely affected the flight attendant’s working environment, according to the lawsuit.
The EEOC is seeking damages for the flight attendant and asked the court to order United to eliminate and prevent sexual harassment in the workplace.
According to the lawsuit, the pilot retired in 2016. United declined to comment.
Reporting by Tracy Rucinski in Chicago; Additional reporting by Daniel Wiessner in New York; Editing by Matthew Lewis