Former flight attendant sues Delta after she was fired for posting anti-Trump cartoon on social media

Leondra Taylor admitted to sharing certain posts to her personal Facebook account, but claims they were "political statements," not hateful or discriminatory.

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Many companies have strict regulations in place in regard to employees sharing their personal opinions on social media, and a former Black flight attendant is suing Delta Airlines for firing her after the company determined that she shared an anti-Donald Trump image on her personal Facebook page.

According to CNN, Leondra Taylor filed a federal lawsuit against Delta, claiming she was discriminated against because of her race after the company terminated her for posting a cartoon image of then-President Donald Trump wearing a Ku Klax Klan hood. The lawsuit also states that non-African American employees weren’t subjected to the same punishment over their social media activity.

In the cartoon, then-former Vice President Joe Biden and Trump are standing behind podiums during a 2020 presidential debate. Trump is wearing a hood. “Thank you, Mr. President, for wearing your mask,” a quote bubble read that appears between the two candidates and over the head of the debate moderator. 

Delta Airlines
A former Black flight attendant is suing Delta Airlines for what she calls a racially motivated firing. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

Editorial cartoonist Aislin created the cartoon and the Montreal Gazette published it on Oct.1 2020, several days after the first debate, which Chris Wallace moderated. During the debate, CNN notes, Wallace asked Trump to denounce white supremacists and militia groups to which he famously replied, “Proud Boys, stand back and stand by.”

According to the lawsuit, a group of Delta staff members told Taylor in January 2021 that some of her Facebook posts were unacceptable and the company does not “tolerate, disrespectful, hateful or discriminatory posts. Delta eventually launched a review of Taylor’s profile — at the prompting of another employee — and “came across some political posts that it deemed to be in violation of its social media policy.”

A month later the company informed Taylor about its plan to fire her. A manager would inform her that the “political posts were racially motivated,” citing that as the reason for her termination.

“When Delta employees intermix Delta’s brand with conduct or content that does not reflect our values of professionalism, inclusion, and respect, that conduct can result in discipline or termination,” a Delta spokesperson said in a statement to CNN. “While personnel issues are considered private between Delta and its employees, the circumstances described by our former employee are not an accurate or complete explanation of the company’s termination decision.”

The lawsuit claims that Taylor’s posts were “political statements,” not hateful or discriminatory.

In addition to lost wages, she is requesting general damages for mental and emotional suffering, as well as punitive damages for the “defendant’s willful, malicious, intentional, and deliberate acts,” the lawsuit states, according to CNN.

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