Ex-Spirit Airlines attendant who was fired for being 'too big' to fit into jump seat, sues company
MIAMI, FLORIDA: An African-American Spirit Airlines attendant was fired on the grounds of being too overweight to buckle into the jump seat. Chelsia Blackmon has filed a lawsuit under the Civil Rights Act and the Florida Civil Rights Act, against the airline to have justice served. Blackmon’s lawyers have said that she had undergone all the necessary training and had passed it and all the compliance protocols including being strapped into the jump seat, the very one that the Airline accused her of not being able to fit into.
In September 2021, Blacknob was on duty when she was unable to buckle the jump seat’s safety belt because of her size and was also not allowed to use an expander. She was instead asked to leave the plane. The plane that she was serving on the day was an Airbus 319. Five days later, Blackmon received a letter from the airline asking her to show up for an investigatory meeting.
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Spirit Airlines had apparently conducted the meeting after which she was eventually fired.
It is to be noted that Blackmon’s legal team contends that the time period given to Blackmon to fit into the jump seat- September 3 to October 12- a little less than 40 days, is a lot lesser than what another white flight attendant who was hired around the same time was given.
According to the lawsuit obtained by FOX Business, “As a result of the discriminatory and illegal differential treatment based upon her race, Plaintiff has suffered lost wages, compensatory damages, mental anguish and suffering as a result of the discriminatory treatment that SPIRIT AIR subjected her to.” The lawsuit further goes on to state that, "Blackmon states that defendant’s actions were in willful and malicious and in reckless disregard of her civil rights protected by the Act and subjects Spirit [Airlines] to punitive damages.”
Blackmon has asked that the court award her a judgment in her favor and also award her back pay, front pay, compensatory and punitive damages, and the money to cover her attorney’s fee as well. She has also asked for any further relief that the court deems just and equitable.