Deidra Daudt

American Airlines Harassing Flight Attendant for Raising Concerns About Safety

June 27, 2022

Mr. Francis Bingham
Littler Mendelson, P.C.
One International Place Suite 2700
Boston, MA 02110


Dear Mr. Bingham,

I was appalled by the June 17, 2022 letter you sent to American Airlines' flight attendant Deidre Daudt. That letter is obviously an attempt to intimidate, harass and overwhelm her into giving into the airline's ill-advised efforts to bully her into accepting an unjust settlement offer after she rightfully, and courageously, challenged Boston base management's hostility and irresponsible decisions relating to her wearing a protective face shield during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. This all happened amidst news reports of rising death tolls across the nation and globally from COVID-19. Such behavior by you and Littler Mendelson on behalf of American Airlines' executives and policymaking board is uncalled for and reprehensible. You all deserve to be placed in the Corporate Hall of Shame!

In your letter, you demand that Ms. Daudt answer a laundry list of Interrogatories "separately and fully in writing under oath." Interrogatory #3 states, "To the extent not identified in response to Interrogatory No.1, please provide the name, address, telephone number, place of employment and job title of every person with whom you have communicated concerning this Action or the allegations in the June 2, 2020 complaint to the Department of Labor..." Let me stand up to the plate and announce that my name, Ray Rogers, should be on such a list, but I do not believe Ms. Daudt should ever be expected to comply with your indefensible demands.
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In addition, your request that she produce an exhaustive list of documents that, along with responding to all the interrogatories, will necessitate that Ms. Daudt hire a staff of researchers, writers and secretarial help at great expense, to meet the 30-day deadline for her to fully respond. Of course, she is also expected to meet her obligations to fly her assigned work flights out of Boston.

Your deplorable strategy to overwhelm the Complainant with paper work would be ethical and proper if she were being accused of a terrible crime like committing murder or planting a bomb, but what you and American Airlines are demanding is senseless and utterly ridiculous. I hope a reporter will demand an answer as to how much the airline is paying Littler Mendelson and what is your hourly billing rate for orchestrating this charade. American's shareholders and taxpayers have a right to know, especially since American received nearly thirteen billion taxpayer dollars to invest in training, expanding and stabilizing its workforce from the cockpit to the ground crews. Instead, it is meting out large sums of money to a law firm described as the largest global employment and labor law practice in the world exclusively devoted to representing management and notorious for its dirty tricks, thwarting union organizing efforts and union-busting schemes.

So, here we have an unscrupulous group of millionaire executives, board members and lawyers ganging up on an unappreciated, undervalued, heroic eight-year flight attendant —who acted in an exemplary manner to protect herself, the health and safety of the cabin crew, passengers and the public— in what can only be compared to David vs. Goliath. We all know how that turned out. Perhaps it would be in the best interest of justice and American, if the airline backed off from its vendetta against one of its exceptional employees and assure base managers are better trained so they don't make similar mistakes in the future which the airline and its attorneys are now trying to cover up in order to save face.

What became a public relations fiasco for American Airlines in 2020 apparently is about to be repeated in 2022 only this time the consequences for the airline likely will be more damaging.

Rather than continue expending time and resources belittling one of its "valued team members," airline management should be building employee morale by having "all hands-on deck'" solving the festering issues of adequate staffing and proper scheduling in order to avoid the massive delays, cancellations and irate passengers plaguing operations!

Sincerely,
 
Ray Rogers
Director
718-852-2808
www.CorporateCampaign.org
Corporate Campaign, Inc.

CC:
Douglas Parker, Chairman, American Airlines
Robert Isom, CEO, American Airlines

 

Deidre Daudt Comments

I am a third-generation flight attendant based in Boston and an OSHA and FAA Whistleblower. A little over two years ago, in May 2020, I was harassed, threatened and intimidated on the plane and at the gate four consecutive times by management. I was first approached on the plane after reporting to work to start a flight sequence out of Boston on May 16, 2020. I was then taken aside at my gate in Boston upon returning from my sequence on May 18, 2020. The following day, after reporting to work a new flight sequence out of Boston, I was further harassed on the plane in front of passengers on May 19, 2020. The fourth and final incident was on the plane on my next and last sequence of the month on May 28, 2020, after I reported to work. This was because I chose to wear a face shield as a second layer of protection during Covid-19 after being told I could have been exposed from a flight a month prior. I wanted to make sure my eyes were equally protected as my mouth and nose were from wearing a mask. Flight Attendants are aviation first responders and at the time we were considered essential workers.

Unfortunately, the Boston Base Manager of American Airlines believed face shields were against "image standards" during the height of the pandemic and she said it made customers feel "uncomfortable." This person tried to make me take a leave and/or collect unemployment. I did not believe in doing this as I wanted to show up to work as long as I felt safe in doing so. American Airlines then tried to cover up the harassment in Boston by trying to use the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) as a scapegoat in a company memo saying the FAA did not "approve" face shields as if there was a regulation number prohibiting the use of wearing personal protective equipment. The FAA did not have to approve the use of facemasks when they were mandated to wear, nor did they need to approve face shields. It was simply a made-up company policy that was created after the first three incidents that took place to give credence to the Base Manager's wrongful actions.

I filed a complaint with the Department of Labor and became an OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) Whistleblower after American Airlines retaliated against me and gave me two non-compliant performance events, which they later removed. I was never insubordinate and they did not give me an explanation for it, nor did they disclose it to me when they issued it to me, as company policy requires.

American Airlines eventually approved the face shield once other U.S. airlines started to give out face shields to their flight attendants. This was when I was out recovering on FMLA (Family and Medical Leave Act) (detailed below) and this was when they removed the 2 non-compliant performance events.

I would like to hold American Airlines accountable for their actions against me, and for unnecessarily endangering fellow flight attendants and passengers because "image standards" and filling seats are more important to them. Obscene profits taking precedent over protecting health and safety have always been an issue. Luckily, they did not try to fire me as they had no reason to. I was never insubordinate, nor was I given a written directive in person. This is because Boston Flight Service never told me nor asked me to remove my face shield, but instead relied on insinuations that I was somehow violating company image standards and FAA regulations — both of which were untrue. If I were violating image standards, then so was every other Flight Attendant wearing a face mask, as the Flight Service Uniform and Image Standards handbook had not yet been updated to include these either.

I did suffer financial setbacks, and due to the harassment and hostile work environment, I was diagnosed with acute PTSD and anxiety and had to see a therapist for three months while out on a FMLA leave.

More than anything, I just want to hold American Airlines accountable and not let them off the hook for treating their employees like they are "the enemy". The Base Manager and those close in her circle in Boston are hostile and I still feel uncomfortable. I had a few encounters after returning to work where a former flight service coordinator would not assist me when I asked about parking reimbursement. He told me he deserved an apology from me despite the fact he was the last "minion" sent to harass me on my flight during boarding. It feels like the script is always flipped. Where's my apology? Where's the help when asked? Where's the respect for having a choice to protect our bodies?

During the most recent incident I encountered, a Purser (International Lead Flight Attendant) who is part of the Base Manager's close circle of friends, called me in the back of the plane during boarding as we were heading to London. She was mad that I made a PA informing passengers that their roller bags must go sideways in the center bins, not the typical wheels first, as I saw many struggling to close these bins on the 777-200 aircraft and I could not reach these passengers to assist. These bins do not close with bags wheels first. I was trying to be proactive so we could close the boarding door on time. This Purser told me, point blank, to never make that PA again. I found this behavior quite strange and unprofessional as she never mentioned to us to not make PAs during our briefing prior to boarding. And yet she never did make an announcement about baggage during boarding from what I recall, but instead she only welcomed passengers on board.

I now report to work looking over my shoulder. I actively avoid going to operations, where I once enjoyed staying before reporting for my flights. I carry locks in my bags just in case someone in this circle tries to plant something to get me fired. Currently, the attorney representing American Airlines wants all my passwords to every social network I have been a member or user of at any time such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn. And all I can think about are employees of airlines, especially from American, who messaged me privately two years ago thinking they were in a safe place reaching out to me. What is safe anymore?

Now they want to depose me in their office on July 26, 2022 under oath like I am the offender. I am just a flight attendant who conducts safety checks before flights, adheres to all aviation rules and regulations, performs medicals inflight, assists passengers and cabin crew during emergency situations, takes care of unaccompanied minors, monitors the cabin for security threats and of course, provides a service inflight. Safety and our wellbeing should always be at the forefront with or without a pandemic. It is my duty to stand up, speak up and demand change and accountability!

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www.CorporateCampaign.org