“Delta has encouraged and maintained an anti-Jewish, Hebrew and ethnic Israeli attitude among management, who…operate under an express assumption that ethnic Jews and Israelis cannot be trusted.”
So claims a lawsuit filed in New York by four Delta FAs against Delta Air Lines.
These FAs, one who has worked for the company for 40 years, work Delta’s New York (JFK) to Tel Aviv (TLV) flight. Two are ethnically Jewish. All claim that Delta targeted them based upon their association with Israel, Israelis, or Jews.
Cynthia Fukelman claims Delta fired her for being Jewish (after 21 years on the job). Delta counters that she missed a flight without permission, prompting her termination. Fukelman claims she had received permission from Delta to take unpaid medical leave.
Tsipora Kuba claims Delta refused to promote her, because she was Jewish. She points to her “qualifications, seniority and experience,” yet argues Delta still passed her over.
Young Sook Sanchez, who is not Jewish, claims Delta unjustly suspended her without pay and revoked her pass travel privileges for making a Jewish friend of 40 years her travel companion. Delta employees can designate a travel partner, giving that person access to standby flights without the employee. Delta counters that Sanchez failed to “demonstrate basic knowledge” about her alleged friend, prompting the suspension.
Attorney Brian Mildenberg, representing the four, pummeled Delta in a statement yesterday–
Delta has encouraged and maintained an anti-Jewish, Hebrew and ethnic Israeli attitude among management, who, through words and deeds, operate under an express assumption that ethnic Jews and Israelis, as employees and passengers, cannot be trusted, are aggressive and inappropriate, and engage in what are deemed to be “strange” behaviors by conducting prayers on the flight and requiring special dietary accommodations (kosher meals).
Morgan Durrant, a Delta spokesman, addressed the matter:
Delta strongly condemns the allegations of discrimination described in this suit and will defend itself vigorously against them. As a global airline that brings people across the world together every day, Delta values diversity in all aspects of its business and has zero tolerance for discrimination.
I’ll refrain from offering commentary other than this: it seems there is a lot of circumstantial evidence but very little hard evidence that favors the plaintiffs. On the contrary, Delta appears well-positioned to defend against each of the four FAs. That doesn’t mean they were not discriminated against nor does it mean Delta will win, but it does make their battle an uphill one.
image: Aero Icarus / Wikimedia Commons