United Sued over Policy on Minimum Working Hours

September 29, 2006 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has filed suit against United Airlines, saying its policy on minimum working hours violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

The Southern Illinoisan reports that the lawsuit alleges United unjustly fired three employees who were physically unable to meet the airline’s requirement for a minimum 30-hour work week. The EEOC filed the suit on behalf of reservation staff in Honolulu and Seattle and a potential class of employees nationwide.

The complaint said United required all reservation sales and service representatives who could not work the minimum hours to either retire or go on leave, and dismissed them when their leave expired, according to the news report. The three longtime employees were forced out of their jobs in 2003 when the rule was imposed, the EEOC claimed. The women had worked for United from 15 to nearly 30 years and had been previously allowed to work 20-hour work weeks to accommodate their disabilities – multiple sclerosis, tendonitis and carpal tunnel.

“Instead of making a good-faith effort to accommodate employees with disabilities as required by the ADA, United implemented a policy that simply jettisoned longtime workers,” Joan Ehrlich, director of the EEOC’s San Francisco district, said in a news release, according to the news report.