A California jury sided with a group of American Airlines flight attendants who suffered health issues because their uniforms were contaminated with formaldehyde and other dangerous chemicals.
In last week’s announcement, the law firm representing the group said the jury awarded the plaintiffs $1.1 million after a five-week trial and set the stage for hundreds more legal challenges in the future.
For the trial, four flight attendants were selected out of a pool of 425. The court allowed the plaintiffs to select two and the defense to select two. However, the latter were only awarded $15,000.
Daniel Balaban, the plaintiffs’ lead trial attorney, called the verdict “a resounding victory” for all American Airlines employees “forced to wear these dangerous uniforms.”
“I hope this jury’s verdict sends a message to uniform manufacturers and employers that cutting costs at the expense of safety is bad for workers, bad for customers, and bad for their bottom line,” Balaban said.
The lawsuit, filed in an Alameda Superior Court in 2017, argued that the uniform manufacturer Twin Hill shipped approximately 150,000 uniforms to flight attendants made from fabric containing formaldehyde, toluene, and more than a dozen more dangerous chemicals.
According to the lawsuit, many employees began experiencing health problems such as rashes, hives, respiratory problems, headaches, and throat irritations while others experienced “permanent chemical sensitivities.”
Although the jury sided with flight attendants in the case, a judge still has to affirm the decision.