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Pinnacle Airlines Settles Disability Bias Suit

EEOC Said Airline Unlawfully Terminated Clerk Because of Arthritis

DETROIT -- The U.S. Equal Employment  Opportunity Commission (EEOC) today announced the settlement of a disability  discrimination lawsuit against Pinnacle Airlines, Inc. for $20,000 and  significant injunctive relief on behalf of a clerk with arthritis who was  allegedly fired for walking too slowly on the job. Pinnacle is a Memphis,  Tenn.-based airlines carrier operating out of the Detroit Metropolitan  Wayne County  Airport

The EEOC’s suit in the U.S.  District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan (Case No. 2:09-CV-13300) charged  that Pinnacle Airlines fired the recently hired Flight Operations Clerk because  it believed that arthritis in her left knee caused her to walk too slowly,  despite her competent performance. Such  alleged conduct violates the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), which prohibits  employment discrimination against people with disabilities.

An EEOC two-year consent decree  resolving the case was signed by U.S. District Judge Marianne Battani. In addition to paying the former Flight  Operations Clerk $20,000, the decree prohibits the airline from engaging in any  employment practice that discriminates against anyone on the basis of  disability and from retaliating against employees who oppose discriminatory  practices. The company has also agreed to:

  • Revise its policies and practices to comply with  the ADA;
  • Provide training to its Human Resource  Department and all of its managers on disability discrimination;
  • Post an EEOC approved Notice that informs  employees how to contact the EEOC if they believe they have been discriminated  against; and
  • Report any complaints of disability  discrimination to the EEOC during the term of the consent decree.

“Pinnacle Airlines should be  applauded for working cooperatively with the EEOC in resolving this suit quickly  and agreeing to measures that will help ensure that similar situations do not  reoccur,” said EEOC Trial Attorney Trek Carethers. “We are pleased with the terms of the consent  decree and this company’s commitment to prevent disability discrimination going  forward.”

According to company information,  Pinnacle Airlines, which employs over 4,300 individuals, flies over 740 Delta  Connection flights daily to 120 airports across the United States and Canada.

The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment  discrimination. Further information about the agency is available on its web  site at