FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Reginald Welch Monday, July 31, 1995 Michael Widomski (202) 663-4900 TDD: (202) 663-4494
WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced today that the federal district court in Los Angeles gave preliminary approval to an agreement between EEOC and Trans World Airlines, Inc. (TWA) that resolves a lawsuit charging TWA with pregnancy discrimination in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The proposed settlement provides 10 special travel vouchers that may be used for round-trip travel anywhere in TWA's flight system to former and incumbent female flight attendants for each pregnancy covered under the lawsuit. Approximately 1,500 to 2,000 former and present TWA female flight attendants are expected to receive relief under the agreement.
The settlement resolves an EEOC lawsuit filed against TWA on September 10, 1976, in federal court in Los Angeles. The suit alleges that TWA discriminated against female flight attendants on the basis of sex in violation of Title VII by maintaining a policy that required them to cease flying and take a leave of absence immediately upon medical confirmation of their pregnancy. After the case was tried, the district court ruled in January 1983 that the TWA policy violated Title VII. Although the parties engaged in efforts to resolve the case, those efforts, which were complicated by TWA's filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in January 1992, were unsuccessful.
The suit covers all former and present female flight attendants who were employed by TWA on or after June 22, 1972, and who took or were placed on a maternity leave of absence at any time on or after April 20, 1971, through March 25, 1984, and would have continued to work, except for TWA's policy, at any time during their maternity leave of absence.
The settlement permanently enjoins TWA from re-implementing its maternity leave policy in effect during the years covered by the lawsuit. The travel vouchers awarded under the settlement may be used by the former or present female flight attendant and her immediate family members (including spouse, parents, and children) during their lifetime subject to TWA's age limitations for dependent children.
EEOC Chairman Gilbert F. Casellas said, "The Commission is pleased that this matter finally has been resolved in the interests of all former and present female flight attendants who were denied opportunities because of their pregnancy."
The settlement also resolves a private class action suit, consolidated with EEOC's case, brought by Linda Knox-Schillinger on behalf of herself and a class of other female flight attendants raising the same issues. The Independent Federation of Flight Attendants, the collective bargaining representative for TWA's flight attendants, is a party to the settlement. The settlement is subject to the court's final approval after a hearing scheduled for November 13, 1995.
In addition to enforcing Title VII, which prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin, EEOC enforces the Age Discrimination in Employment Act; the Equal Pay Act; sections of the Civil Rights Act of 1991; Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in the private sector and state and local governments; and prohibitions against discrimination affecting individuals with disabilities in the federal government.
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