Delta Airlines Employees File Lawsuit Over Uniform Health Risks
A group of 500 Delta Airlines employees is suing Lands' End with claims that their uniforms "pose an ongoing, unreasonable [risk] of physical harm."
According to CNN, Delta employees reported that they noticed a wide range of symptoms, like vocal cord dysfunction, respiratory issues, skin blisters and rashes, blurred vision, nosebleeds, ringing ears, migraines and fatigue.
Most of the 500 plaintiffs are flight attendants, but a Facebook group created to address Delta employee concerns currently has more than 6,000 members.
Hundreds of Delta Airlines workers sue Lands' End over uniforms, say they made them sick https://t.co/zVYCQNCTZp
— ABC7 Eyewitness News (@ABC7) January 3, 2020
"This is affecting a lot of people," the group's attorney, Bruce Maxwell, told CNN.
Delta released a statement yesterday that the uniforms, which debuted in 2016 and became mandatory for employees to wear in 2018, were safe. However, almost immediately after their implementation, the uniforms were causing problems for employees.
"Our top priority continues to be the safety of our employees, which is why we invested in a rigorous toxicology study to determine if there was a universal scientific issue with the uniform," the statement said. "The results of the study confirm our uniforms meet the highest textile standards ... with the exception of the optional flight attendant apron, which we removed from the collection."
The employees, however, claim that they conducted their own tests and found evidence of "chemicals and heavy metals far in excess of industry accepted safe levels for garments," such as formaldehyde, mercury, chromium, antimony and bromine.
CNN noted also that Delta pilots, the only employees of Delta who are unionized, do not wear Lands' End uniforms.
Delta also isn't a defendant in the case, as the law doesn't allow employees to sue employers for damages related to workplace conditions. In these instances, the employees would simply seek workers' compensation benefits.
In 2017, American Airlines employees voiced similar concerns after uniforms produced by Twin Hill caused a variety of health issues for employees. After complaints from its flight attendants' union, the company decided to part ways with Twin Hill.
The difference here is that Delta flight attendants don't have a union like American did, so it could be more difficult for this group of employees to resolve the issue without collective bargaining power.