Amer­i­can Air­lines flight at­ten­dants sue, say­ing uni­forms make them sick

Austin American-Statesman - - MORE OF TODAY’S TOP NEWS - By Connor Shine

Two Amer­i­can Air­lines flight at­ten­dants have filed a fed­eral law­suit against gar­ment man­u­fac­turer Twin Hill over claims that new uni­forms de­liv­ered last year are mak­ing thou­sands of em­ploy­ees sick.

Amer­i­can in­tro­duced the new uni­forms in Septem­ber and al­most im­me­di­ately, em­ploy­ees started com­plain­ing about re­ac­tions — in­clud­ing rashes, se­vere headaches and breath­ing dif­fi­culty — they at­trib­uted to the new out­fits.

Since then, more than 4,000 em­ploy­ees, mostly flight at­ten­dants, have re­ported prob­lems.

Amer­i­can and Twin Hill say the uni­forms are safe and re­fer to sev­eral rounds of tests that found the gar­ments meet­ing in­ter­na­tional stan­dards.

Amer­i­can an­nounced in June that it’s end­ing its part­ner­ship with Twin Hill and will seek a new ven­dor for the uni­forms. But the based car­rier has so far re­sisted de­mands from em­ployee unions that the uni­forms be re­called.

In the law­suit filed last week, Chicago-based flight at­ten­dants Thor Zur­briggen and Dena Catan al­lege that the Twin Hill-man­u­fac­tured uni­forms de­liv­ered to more than 70,000 Amer­i­can em­ploy­ees in Septem­ber “pose an un­rea­son­able risk of phys­i­cal harm.”

The suit seeks in­di­vid­ual dam­ages for Zur­briggen and Catan, who both say they’ve had health prob­lems re­lated to the uni­forms. The suit also re­quests class-ac­tion cer­ti­fi­ca­tion that could in­volve ad­di­tional Amer­i­can em­ploy­ees, a re­call of the uni­forms and the es­tab­lish­ment of a fund to pay for the med­i­cal mon­i­tor­ing of af­fected em­ploy­ees.

The com­plaint is the first re­ported legal ac­tion in a con­tro­versy that has stretched for nearly a year.

In a state­ment, Twin Hill said noth­ing in the law­suit “changes the fact that there is ab­so­lutely no ev­i­dence link­ing any of the symp­toms al­leged to our uni­forms.”

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