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Flight attendant suffered illness from chemicals in uniform


An appeals court in New York on Thursday ruled that a Delta Airlines Inc. flight attendant suffered an occupational illness related to the chemicals in her issued uniform.

The flight attendant filed a workers compensation claim in 2019 after her doctors became suspicious that her skin, respiratory and other physical problems were connected to the work uniform she had begun wearing in 2018, according to documents in Matter of Valdez v. Delta Airlines, Inc., filed in the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of New York, Third Department, in Albany.

Medical evidence and hearing testimony led a Workers' Compensation Law Judge to issue a decision determining that the flight attendant had suffered a work-related injury and established the claim for contact dermatitis, reactive airway disease and lymphadenopathy, according to documents. The Workers’ Compensation Board agreed.

On appeal, the state’s appeals court affirmed, cited case law, writing that flight attendant established a recognizable link between her condition and “a distinctive feature” of her employment through the submission of “competent medical evidence.”

“As the carrier points out, claimant was allergic to a chemical used in dyes and suffered from contact dermatitis before she began wearing the uniform, and there is no indication that the chemical in question was present in the uniform,” the ruling states. “The Board nevertheless credited claimant’s testimony that her symptoms worsened after she began wearing the uniform and eased somewhat when she switched to an alternate uniform on medical advice.”