Dismissed Pilot Given 2nd Chance at Discrim Lawsuit

September 11, 2009 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Declaring that a female pilot suing her former employer for sex discrimination had put forward a strong enough initial case, federal appellate judges have reinstated the suit and sent it back for more proceedings.

Disagreeing with a ruling by a lower court judge, the 9 th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said plaintiff Tiffany Anne Nicholson deserved to be allowed to move forward with allegations she was not offered the same retraining opportunities to help her with poor communications skills as were similarly situated male pilots at Hyannis Air Service. The company was a small Massachusetts-based regional air carrier.

The 9 th Circuit ruling said the company selected Nicholson as one of eight pilots to launch new service providing flights between Guam and neighboring Micronesian islands along with a captain with whom she had had an affair.

Nicholson’s supervisors and other pilots then reported Nicholson “exhibited problems with her communication and cooperation skills,” and she was fired. She charged that the airline actually was trying to “remove an object of sexual competition from its Guam service.”

The ruling is available here .