United Airlines settles harassment suit over cockpit pornography

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The Seattle Times reports:

United Airlines has settled a federal sexual-harassment lawsuit filed by a former pilot who grounded herself after repeatedly finding pornography hidden in the cockpits of domestic airline flights.

Details of the settlement with former Capt. Lisa Stout are secret. The 2-year-old lawsuit was resolved earlier this month, just weeks before it was set to go to trial before U.S. District Judge John Coughenour in Seattle.

Before the settlement, Coughenour had ruled that United’s efforts to dismiss the case were “unpersuasive,” and determined that Stout would be allowed to seek punitive damages against the airline if the suit went to trial.

Stout’s attorney, Victoria Vreeland, said a nondisclosure agreement executed with the settlement prevented her from talking about it. United’s attorneys did not return telephone messages. An airline spokeswoman in Chicago, Megan McCarthy, said the airline would not comment.

Court documents show that Stout, a United 737 captain based out of Seattle, found pornographic photos of women on more than 20 flights in 2004 and 2005. Her lawsuit alleged that United’s efforts to catch the perpetrators were inadequate and the company retaliated against her after she reported it. …

The article also notes:

After Stout complained, her supervisor and a human-resources official for United decided they would not be able to determine who was placing the offensive material on the flight decks because so many people had access: flight crews, maintenance crews, mechanics and others. Instead, they sent an e-mail to flight crews warning them that “inappropriate materials” had been found in cockpits and telling them to note any further instances in the logbook and notify the flight office.

That’s really confidence inspiring in a post 9/11 world, isn’t it? Read the entire article here. Via.

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