American Airlines to launch anti-racism training for its staff
On November 30, 2017, American Airlines announced its plan to launch anti-racism training for all employees. According to the airline, starting from 2018, everyone at the company will need to complete annual implicit bias training, developed by an outside consultant.
The announcement followed a recent NAACP's “travel advisory” for the carrier. On October 24, 2017, the US civil rights organization NAACP issued a warning to black travelers about flying with American Airlines. According to the organization, “booking and boarding flights on American Airlines could subject them [African Americans – AeroTime] to disrespectful, discriminatory or unsafe conditions.”
“The NAACP for several months now has been monitoring a pattern of disturbing incidents reported by African-American passengers, specific to American Airlines,” the organization stated back then. “The series of recent incidents involve troublesome conduct by American Airlines and they suggest a corporate culture of racial insensitivity and possible racial bias on the part of American Airlines.”
The NAACP cited four “disturbing incidents” onboard American Airlines. The first incident mentioned by the organization, happened with an African-American man who was required to relinquish his purchased seats aboard a flight from Washington, DC to Raleigh-Durham, merely because he responded to disrespectful and discriminatory comments directed toward him by two unruly white passengers.
“We expect an audience with the leadership of American Airlines to air these grievances and to spur corrective action,” Derrick Johnson, President, and CEO of the NAACP stated after the advisory was issued. “Until these and other concerns are addressed, this national travel advisory will stand.”
In response to the advisory, American Airlines stated that the carrier will reflect on the experiences its passengers have shared with the NAACP and will take actions with a goal of “becoming an industry leader in diversity and inclusion.”
“We will take four specific actions to facilitate that effort, and we are grateful for the thoughtful input we received thus far that will aid our journey, ” American Airlines CEO Doug Parker stated. “Our work is only beginning, but knowing the American Airlines team, we are confident in our ability to set a new standard in the area of diversity and inclusion.”
Additionally to the anti-racism training for its employees, American is planning to ask an independent firm to conduct a top-to-bottom review of American's human resources and business policies related to diversity and inclusion, including hiring, training, career development, customer complaint resolution, team member experience, and supplier selection.
Also, the airline will rebuild its customer discrimination claims process, so all passengers with a discrimination claim will be called by a specialist within 48 hours of filing their complaint, and an expedited investigation process will be initiated.
The NAACP stated that the actions announced by American “is a good start to changing internal processes that allow for discrimination, racism, and implicit bias to continue to exist within companies.”
"We think that the steps taken by American Airlines if fully implemented, will not only change the way they engage their customers and employees but will serve as a model for other companies,” Derrick Johnson said in an official statement.
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