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'Blatant Discrimination'; Lawsuit Claims United Favored Young, Blond Flight Attendants For Pro Team Charters

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) -- A lawsuit against United Airlines claims flight attendants selected for professional football and baseball charter flights are uniformly white, blonde and young.

"It is blatant discrimination," said Kim Guillory, who is African-American and has worked at United for 28 years.

"It's dehumanizing, demoralizing," said Sharon Tesler who is Jewish and has been with United for 34 years.

In a discrimination lawsuit filed by both women in San Mateo County, they claim they were repeatedly denied plum assignments on NFL and Major League baseball charter flights.

The women say they were told by supervisors they were not on the so-called 'preferred' list. So they did a little digging and found the list.

"Every time a new flight attendant was added to the crew that they all look like sisters, they were all white female and blondes, and I thought, well that's strange," Guillory told KPIX 5. "I'm based in San Francisco, and you'll be hard-pressed to find all-white blonde females considering that San Francisco is one of the more demographically diverse group of flight attendants."

"When I looked to see who got it it was a blond-haired, blue-eyed woman," said Tesler. "Some people are getting on it with no experience."

In the statement, the airline said it could not specifically comment on this lawsuit. However, it insisted there was no discrimination in the assignment process.

"United Airlines is proud of our track record on diversity, equity and inclusion ... flight attendant eligibility to work a charter flight is based solely on performance and attendance and has nothing to do with age, race or gender."

Angelo Alioto, a San Francisco attorney representing the women, said the selection for charter flights demonstrates that United Airlines discriminated against flight attendants based on the color of their skin, their age and even their gender.

"You can't change who you are," Alioto said. "They can't become white with blue eyes and blonde hair and be 25, years old, and all these men sitting in a room, deciding who are going to be their flight attendants on these charters. I think it's absolutely despicable."


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