Frontier Airlines reaches settlement in lawsuit by female pilots over pregnancy discrimination


(MENAFN) Frontier Airlines has reached a settlement in a lawsuit filed by female pilots who alleged discrimination against pregnant or breastfeeding employees. The agreement, announced on Tuesday, includes provisions allowing pilots to pump breast milk in the cockpit during "noncritical phases" of flights. The Denver-based airline has committed to granting accommodations such as reducing flying time for pilots who are breastfeeding and treating pregnancy and breastfeeding on par with other medical conditions that may render pilots unable to fly.

The settlement, facilitated by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), marks a resolution to charges filed against Frontier in 2018, following legal action taken by several pilots. Aditi Fruitwala, a lawyer representing the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), emphasized that the settlement should serve as a signal to airlines and employers, encouraging them to make reasonable accommodations for pregnant and breastfeeding employees. Fruitwala expressed hope that the resolution would inspire broader positive changes and stronger protections for workers within the airline industry.

Jacalyn Peter, Frontier's vice president for labor relations, asserted that the airline is leading in accommodating the needs of pregnant and breastfeeding mothers in the industry. She highlighted advancements in wearable lactation technology as a contributing factor that facilitated a settlement while maintaining safety standards. In a similar vein, last year, Frontier settled a comparable lawsuit involving flight attendants, where the airline was accused of compelling unpaid leave for pregnancy-related absences and restricting the ability to pump breast milk during work.

It's important to note that in settling these lawsuits, Frontier did not admit liability. In the case of Denver-based pilots, the airline also committed to complying with an existing union agreement permitting pregnant pilots to fly with medical approval. Additionally, Frontier will continue to enable breastfeeding pilots to reduce their schedules to 50 hours of flying per month and will update and provide information on lactation facilities at airports. The resolution underscores the significance of workplace accommodations for pregnant and breastfeeding employees and contributes to a broader conversation about equity and inclusivity within the airline industry.  

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