American Airlines Places Employees on Leave After Racial Discrimination Lawsuit

American Airlines Places Employees on Leave After Racial Discrimination Lawsuit

American Airlines CEO Robert Isom addresses the suspension of employees following a racial discrimination lawsuit by three black passengers removed from a JFK-bound flight.

Bollywood Fever: American Airlines has placed several employees on leave after the company was sued by three black New Yorkers who were removed from a JFK-bound flight following a body odor complaint.

American CEO Robert Isom announced the disciplinary action in a note to staff, expressing disappointment over the incident that occurred on a January flight from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.

“I am incredibly disappointed by what happened on that flight and the breakdown of our procedures,” Isom stated. “It contradicts our values… We fell short of our commitments and failed our customers in this incident.”

The exact number of American Airlines workers placed on leave remains unspecified. “We are holding those involved accountable, including removing team members from service,” an airline spokesperson confirmed.

On January 5, eight black men were ordered off the plane after a white male flight attendant allegedly complained of an offensive body odor, according to the lawsuit filed by three of the passengers: Xavier Veal, Emmanuel Jean Joseph, and Alvin Jackson. The men, who were complete strangers and seated separately, allege they faced “blatant and egregious race discrimination.”

Video footage of the incident shows the men suggesting they were targeted because of their race, a notion to which one of the American Airlines employees verbally agreed. After being removed from the plane and unable to find another flight, they were eventually ordered to reboard, causing about an hour delay.

In response to the incident, American Airlines is forming an advisory group to address the experiences of black customers, promote the reporting of discrimination allegations, and enhance diversity training to “focus on real-world situations to help recognize and address bias and discrimination,” according to Isom’s letter.

This incident is not the first time American Airlines has faced discrimination allegations. In 2017, the NAACP issued a travel advisory warning black travelers to avoid the airline due to multiple discrimination claims. The advisory was lifted nearly nine months later after American Airlines promised changes.

Isom has consulted with the NAACP regarding the company’s next steps to ensure such incidents do not recur.

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