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AA Flight Attendants Sue Carrier Over Online Harassment

Laura Medlin and Melissa Chinery say that they officially reported the harassment to the carrier, but claim that it did nothing to stop the abuse they were receiving.

Two members of American Airlines’ (AA) cabin crew have filed legal action against the carrier, alleging that they suffered sexual and gender harassment from colleagues via social media. The female employees claim that AA failed to impose its policy in relation to social media use, which strictly prohibits insults and slurs on the accounts of its employees.

The women, Laura Medlin and Melissa Chinery, are based in North Carolina and Pennsylvania, respectively. They say that the harassment originated in online forums as well as in employee-based Facebook groups. Medlin and Chinery filed their suits, which are currently pending, in November 2016.

The Charlotte Observer reports that they are “seeking unspecified monetary damages.”

In her suit, Medlin, who has been with AA for 17 years, claimed that she was harassed after resigning from a union position. She claims that she received abuse from a number of Pennsylvania-based cabin crew, who, among other insults, allegedly called her a “sow.”

In her action, Chinery alleges that her harassment started in 2014 when she ran for a union position at the carrier. In addition to also being harassed online by male staff members via social media, Chinery claims that her personal details were also made public.

The women have said that they both reported this harassment to AA’s human resources department, but they claim that this section did nothing to stop the abuse. Chinery said that, as a result of reporting the online abuse, she was subjected to retaliation and even had to relocate to a different crew hub.

Representing Medlin, attorney Faye Riva Cohen told the paper “Some of the flight attendants, the females, are feeling that they (American Airlines) are not monitoring what it is taking place on social media, which is resulting in abusive-type bullying.”

“Our allegation is, if you have a social media policy, such as American […] why are they not enforcing some of the things that their policy prohibits?” she asked.

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