Michelle Cohen Levy

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Women accuse airline of pregnancy discrimination

| Dec 18, 2019 | Workplace Discrimination |

Frontier Airlines is a popular choice for flights to and from Florida, but the airline is facing a lawsuit from female flight attendants and pilots who say they were subject to discrimination while pregnant or for being new mothers. They filed two federal lawsuits saying that the airline forced pregnant women to take extended leave, largely without pay. They were ordered to stop flying long before their due dates, months in some cases. Previously, complaints had been made against Frontier to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission citing discrimination against pregnant women.

One flight attendant said that she was forced to go with no pay for months before her pregnancy as well as lose much of her paid time off before giving birth. Frontier stopped her from working once she reached 34 weeks of pregnancy, despite the fact that she wanted to use some of her personal time once her children were born. In addition to the alleged workplace discrimination against pregnant women, the complaints also accuse the airline of discrimination against new mothers. In particular, they argue that breastfeeding women were treated in violation of the law, saying that mothers were denied space to pump breast milk and that pilots were barred from pumping while in flight.

Pilots are allowed to go to the restroom routinely while the co-pilot takes control of the plane, and female pilots said that pumping breast milk would be little different. They also said that they were repeatedly questioned about their breastfeeding practices by airline human resources employees, including those who implied that they should stop breastfeeding.

The lawsuits accuse the airline of violations of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act and state anti-discrimination laws. Women who have lost out on income or jobs because of their pregnancy status may consult with an employment law attorney about their options to seek justice.