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EEOC files class action against United Airlines


SEATTLE--The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has filed a class action lawsuit in federal court in Seattle charging that United Airlines' policy on minimum working hours violates the Americans with Disabilities Act.

H. Joan Ehrlich, director of the EEOC's San Francisco district, said the suit filed Thursday is on behalf of three women who were terminated from their positions in United's Honolulu and Seattle offices after the airline introduced a minimum 30-hour work week in 2003.

All three--Maria Lovell, Shelly Kia and Janet Lawhead--had medical conditions that prevented them from working that many hours, said Ms. Ehrlich. She said other plaintiffs may join the suit.

If a physician determines an employee should be accommodated by working fewer hours, "we believe that United Airlines is big enough to accommodate that request," and not doing so violates the ADA, Ms. Ehrlich said.

A spokesman for the Elk Grove Village, Ill.-based airline said in a statement: "We made all reasonable attempts to accommodate employees affected by this policy, and we believe we acted in full compliance with all laws."