2 United flight attendants suing airline for alleged discrimination

Jory Rand Image
Tuesday, October 31, 2023
2 United flight attendants suing airline for alleged discrimination
Two longtime United Airlines flight attendants are suing the airline, claiming years of racial and religious discrimination.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Dawn Todd is one of two United Airlines flight attendants who has filed a lawsuit against the airline, saying they were discriminated against because of their race, age, religion and appearance.

"I was told by a supervisor at United that I did not fit a look," said Darby Quezada, a 16-year United flight attendant.

Quezada and Todd were members of United's Dodger charter crew, working Dodger flights to and from road trips. It was an opportunity that wasn't historically staffed by women who look like them.

"For years there have been allegations that the Dodgers and other sports charter programs were exclusively limited to flight attendants who fit a certain look," said Sam Yebri, attorney for the plaintiffs.

"Blond hair, blue eyed, Caucasian. I'm not Caucasian, I'm not blue eyed, I'm not blond," Quezada said.

A 2020 lawsuit opened the door to a more diverse staff, and the women were two of three minorities added in 2022. But it didn't take long before they began facing discrimination from white members of the crew.

"We need a Mexican to clean the bathrooms," Quezada recounted.

"A flight attendant asked me, would I be the maid?" Todd said.

"One of the Dodgers pitchers, we were talking in Spanish. And hearing the statement, 'We're in America, speak English.' That broke me," Quezada said.

It was going to get worse. The women say they were then bumped from full time status without their knowledge, costing them money. Then Quezada was removed entirely.

"Without an explanation. And three white blond hair, blue-eyed flight attendants, who didn't have to interview, who didn't interview at all, were ahead of myself and Todd," Quezada said.

"I'm just disgusted. I'm upset. I have bouts of crying because this shouldn't be happening," Todd said.

"They cannot discriminate and make staffing decisions based off of race or religion or national origin. Nor can they say this is just what our client wants," Yebri said.

We reached out to United Airlines, who responded, "United fosters an environment of inclusion and does not tolerate discrimination of any kind. We believe this lawsuit is without merit and intend to defend ourselves vigorously."

The Dodgers did not respond to ABC7's request for a comment. The lawsuit is asking for lost wages and punitive damages from United.