Two JetBlue flight attendants have sued the airline and two of its pilots in federal court this week. They claim they were drugged and one was sexually assaulted during a layover last May in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
What are the details?
According to the New York Times, the women are seeking damages from JetBlue and the pilots, Dan Watson and Eric Johnson, for “aggravated sexual abuse, assault and battery, sex discrimination and civil rights violations”. The lawsuit was filed on Monday in United States District Court in the Eastern District of New York.
According to the lawsuit, the two women and a third co-worker met two JetBlue pilots on a San Juan beach. Here they had beers, which the women allege were tainted with a drug. They claim they were then taken to an InterContinental Hotel where one of the pilots raped one flight attendant and her co-worker. The influence of the drug made them unable to defend themselves. The three women reported the incident the next day after working together on a flight.
The flight attendants are suing the pilots for $75,000 in damages individually. As well as this, the pilots will be liable for any attorney costs, should their case be successful.
The lawsuit also accuses the airline of failing to take disciplinary action against the pilots when the women reported the assault last year.
Representatives from JetBlue released a statement saying it:
“…takes allegations of violent or inappropriate behavior very seriously and investigates such claims thoroughly. We work to create a respectful workplace for all our crew members where they feel welcome and safe.” – JetBlue spokesperson
The plaintiff’s lawyer, Abe Melamed said that there is a big concern over how JetBlue handled the case, especially because they took no corrective action. He went on to say that “they feel like this is a large part of what airline culture is. It lends itself to these sort of issues.” The lawsuit addresses JetBlue’s inaction which amounts to JetBlue allowing sex and gender discrimination and an environment that is hostile to work in.
This is not the first time an incident similar to this has happened in the aviation industry. Last year, an Alaska Airlines First Officer sued the airline because a captain drugged her drink and raped her on an overnight layover. The victim, sued the airline for not taking any action against the pilot.
This is a very serious allegation, which cannot be taken lightly by JetBlue.