For years, a United Airlines pilot has posted naked and sexually suggestive photos of a flight attendant online, referring to her job, and even posting photos of her, in part in her uniform, as court records prove
you, as you fly!
But according to a federal lawsuit filed Thursday by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, United did not intervene and ruled that the pilot's actions did not constitute sexual harassment in the workplace, and the federal agency accused the airline To discriminate against women and not protect them from a hostile working environment
In an email on Friday, a United spokeswoman said that the company did not agree to the description of the situation it was denied. "United does not tolerate sexual harassment in the workplace and becomes energetic defend against this case, "she said. 19659006] The suit comes as United seeks to recover from a series of episodes that have forced public apologies, including a widespread video of a passenger being dragged off an airplane and an outcry about the death of a dog , who was stored in a luggage compartment against the airline policy.
The flight attendant began a friendly relationship with pilot Mark Uhlenbrock in 2002. During her relationship, she allowed him to take pictures of her in "provocative poses," according to the lawsuit.
The photos, the suit said, "were never meant to be anything but intimate and private between them as a couple." But in 2006, the couple split up after the woman learned that Mr. Uhlenbrock had racy photos of herself you had put online.
Over the next decade, Mr. Uhlenbrock regularly released sexually explicit pictures of her, including g in her flight attendant uniform, according to the lawsuit. Sometimes he also identified her name, occupation and home base. It was, he said, "a new reason to fly the friendly sky" – a reference to United's slogan, the lawsuit.
The images – seen by at least two of her United employees – interfered with her ability to do a job that "values personal rapport and coziness," according to the EEOC
The woman sued Mr. Uhlenbrock three times, and he agreed to pay more than $ 100,000 in damages, court records show.
In 2011, she also complained to the United Civil Service and filed a formal complaint. She provided evidence for the online posts, including a photograph of her in her flight attendant uniform. But United Nations officials concluded that Mr. Uhlenbrock's actions, according to the lawsuit, did not constitute sexual harassment in the workplace.
Two years later, the woman filed another complaint, filing data and IP addresses indicating that Mr. Uhlenbrock had posted pictures when he was on a stopover between the flights and was accountable to his employer. Nevertheless, "no appropriate disciplinary, preventive or corrective action has been taken," the suit said.
When Mr. Uhlenbrock continued to post racy photos of the woman, the F.B.I. After a criminal complaint filed in 2016, he initiated an investigation. This year Uhlenbrock pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 41 months in prison. Records show he is serving his sentence in St. Louis; he could not be reached on Friday for a comment.
His behavior took a toll on the woman, according to the complaint: She once said goodbye to United because of the emotional damage suffered "
Mr. Uhlenbrock was meanwhile able to retire at full power, it said in the lawsuit. 19659017]