Boeing Discrimination Suit Advances

May 29, 2002 ( - The Boeing Company could be out tens of millions of dollars if a group of Asian American employees wins its discrimination suit against the giant airplane manufacturer.

According to a Reuters news report, the group’s legal effort got a major boost when US District Judge Robert Lasnik gave the Boeing lawsuit class action status. Plaintiff lawyer Harish Bharti said the 55 original plaintiffs are among 1,500 South Asian Boeing engineers who were unfairly denied raises and promotions.

Bharti said his clients are from seven countries:

  • Afghanistan,
  • Cambodia,
  • India,
  • Iran,
  • Pakistan,
  • The Philippines, and
  • Vietnam

For its part Boeing is actively contesting the lawsuit and disputes the charges, a spokesman told Reuters. 

Boeing Battles

The latest case is similar to earlier discrimination battles by women and minorities against Boeing and McDonnell Douglas, which Boeing bought in 1997 over allegations that the companies had allowed racial and sexual discrimination against employees.

Boeing denied official discrimination in those cases but agreed to pay millions and conceded some mistreatment may have occurred, noting the difficulty in ensuring legal compliance in a company with nearly 200,000 workers.

Also, in September 1999 Boeing agreed to pay $14.2 million to settle discrimination charges brought by African-American employees, including $6.5 million to some 3,600 workers.

Two months later Boeing struck a deal with the US Labor Department to pay $4.5 million to female and minority workers who claimed they were paid less than white male colleagues.