Labor & Employment

Not-Sexy-Enough Flight Attendant Says Rival Airline Denied Her Free Travel


A Delta Airlines flight attendant who contends she was denied opportunities to travel for free on a rival airline to her job assignments because she wasn’t dressed provocatively enough has sued both her employer and JetBlue Airways in federal court alleging employment discrimination.

Karin Keegan, 37, contends in her Western District of Pennsylvania lawsuit that a gate agent said she couldn’t board an Oct. 10, 2007 JetBlue flight—even though less senior attendants in sexier clothing were allowed to take the flight—due to her own relatively prim attire, the Associated Press and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette report.

Then, when the Pittsburgh resident returned to the gate in more provocative attire (which apparently included a lower-cut shirt, tighter pants and additional makeup, according to AP), the agent allegedly told her she was too late to take the flight. Keegan suit contends that she complained to both airlines to no avail and lost money because she avoided taking JetBlue flights to prevent additional harassment.

Neither airline commented for the articles. Delta reportedly had an agreement with JetBlue to fly its employees on a standby basis to work assignments.

Keegan’s lawyer, Samuel Cordes, says JetBlue unsuccessfully argued earlier before the federal Equal Opportunity Employment Commission that the airline isn’t liable for the alleged conduct because it didn’t employ Keegan. However, employees can sue companies over workplace-related harassment even when those named as defendants are not the direct employer, Cordes says.

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