According to a Pennsylvania attorney, at least 80 African-American employees of American Airlines have been subjected to racial discrimination.
In a letter to United States Attorney General Loretta Lynch asking for an investigation, the law firm stated that African-American employees were often called by the n-word or called “circus monkeys,” reports NBC Philadelphia. Their work areas were also subject to racist nicknames, and areas where African-American employees worked were called “jungle,” “ghetto,” “Darfur,” “black panther break room,” and “chocolate break room.”
Additionally, the letter claims that break rooms, control rooms, teams and assignments were segregated by race and that overtime opportunities were not provided to employees who were African-American.
The letter also stated that African-American employees were not given enough training, so that they were unable to pursue job opportunities because they were not able to perform the necessary job functions. Additionally, African-American employees were, according to the letter, subject to stricter punishment than their white counterparts. The letter reads in part:
This allegation is what started our investigation into the safety practices of this airline. Our clients alleged that white employees were routinely allowed by managers to reserve the best tugs, trucks, lifts and other equipment for their use, to the exclusion of black employees. Black employees have been forced to work on the unsafe equipment that is described in detail in the Safety Complaint, and which equipment both the FAA and OSHA have confirmed does not comply with federal standards.
A spokesperson for American Airlines refuted the allegations in a statement:
Diversity and inclusion are fundamental to our airline,” the spokesperson wrote. “Ours is a diverse workforce serving customers who are equally diverse, and we are committed to fostering a work environment that is based on collaborative teamwork and mutual respect. We will vigorously defend our company and the hard-working employees who provide top-quality service to our customers each and every day.