Female pilots, flight attendants sue Frontier for discrimination
Several female pilots and flight attendants are suing low-cost Frontier Airlines, alleging that the carrier discriminated against pregnant and nursing employees, according to a federal lawsuit filed on December 10.
The women claimed they faced "mounting obstacles" during pregnancy or while nursing on the job.
The suit claims the plaintiffs faced discipline for absences related to pregnancy and were eventually forced to take unpaid leave weeks or months before their due dates. One woman alleges she was "forced off the job" during the entire breastfeeding period. Another said she gave up breastfeeding altogether. The women also say that they were still breastfeeding their newborns when they returned to work, however, Frontier refused to make it possible for them to pump breast milk on the job, which they needed to do to be able to continue nursing.
One of the pilots named in the suit, Shannon Kiedrowski, told NPR that she was reprimanded for pumping in-flight, implying that she couldn't pump because she was a pilot.
"It's not as though we're going to be pumping during takeoff and landing," Kiedrowski told NPR.
"They questioned why I was pumping, why I felt the need to breastfeed my child, implying that, 'You're a pilot. And really, there's no place for you if you need to pump at work,'" Kiedrowski continued.
The women in the suit accuse Frontier of violating the federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act and Colorado state laws that protect the rights of pregnant and nursing women.
Frontier has denied the allegations, telling NPR that the airline "offers a number of accommodations for pregnant and lactating pilots and flight attendants within the bounds of protecting public safety, which is always our top priority."
Frontier serves more than 50 destinations, including cities in the United States, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic and Mexico. The airline charges fees for most extras, including checked and carry-on bags, advance seat assignments and airport check-in.