Written by 13:52 Business

American Airlines Is Accused of Discrimination in Lawsuit

Three Black men have accused American Airlines of “blatant race discrimination” over its temporary removal of them and five other men from a Jan. 5 flight from Phoenix to New York, in a federal lawsuit filed on Wednesday.

The men said they were seated on a plane at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport when an airline employee went row by row asking them to get off the plane. As they exited, the passengers noticed that all the Black men on the flight, eight in total, appeared to have been removed. The men did not know one another, according to the lawsuit, which was filed on their behalf by the legal arm of Public Citizen, a liberal nonprofit group, and the law firm Outten & Golden.

Once the men left the plane, they asked for an explanation from an airline employee, who said they had been removed because of a complaint about body odor, though nobody had accused the men of an offensive smell, according to the suit. An American representative told the men at the time that the complaint had come from a white flight attendant.

The men said they had been singled out because of their race. When one described the removal from the plane as discriminatory, an American employee said, “I agree, I agree,” according to a cellphone recording that was shared with The New York Times.

“We take all claims of discrimination very seriously and want our customers to have a positive experience when they choose to fly with us,” American said in a statement. “Our teams are currently investigating the matter, as the claims do not reflect our core values or our purpose of caring for people.”

The men are asking for compensation for the “fear, humiliation, embarrassment, mental pain, suffering and inconvenience” they endured and punitive damages, according to the lawsuit, which was filed in federal court in Brooklyn.

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Last modified: 30 May 2024
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