Sacked flight attendant sues Spirit Airlines over racial discrimination

Former Spirit Airlines flight attendant Chelsea Blackmon is filing an employment discrimination lawsuit against the airline after not being able to fit in a jump seat.

The lawsuit was filed at the District Court for South Florida on November 16, 2022, with Blackmon demanding compensation to cover back pay, compensatory damages, and punitive damages.

Blackmon was successful in completing Spirit Airlines’ flight attendant training course. The course involved trainees demonstrating that they are able to strap themselves and fit in a jump seat under a specified time. A jump seat is a folding seat for flight attendants to sit in during a flight takeoff and landing.

Though Blackmon could fasten the harness on a jump seat during her training, she was not able to do so on a September 2021 flight. Flight attendants are not allowed to use seat belt extenders on jump seats, so Blackmon disembarked and was not able to complete her work on the flight.

Paddle Your Own Kanoo reported that Blackmon “was then placed on administrative leave and following a short investigation, the airline demanded that she be able to prove she could fit in a flight attendant jump seat.”

A month later, Blackmon was allegedly asked to secure herself in a jump seat which was “too small for her.”

Blackmon claims that the airline’s move was discrimination aimed at her as a black woman, insisting that a white colleague in the same situation was given more time to fit into her jump seat.

Calling the move “wilful and malicious”, as well as showing “reckless disregard” for her civil rights, Blackmon accused Spirit Airlines of giving her less time to fit the jump seat due to her race.

Blackmon claims her dismissal was in violation of the federal Civil Rights Act and the Florida Civil Rights Act.

The lawsuit’s current status stands as pending.

Spirit Airlines has not yet provided a statement nor any comments regarding the lawsuit.

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