At­ten­dants sue over uni­forms

Los Angeles Times - - BUSINESS - By Hugo Martin hugo.martin@la­times.com Twitter: @hugo­martin

Two Amer­i­can Air­lines work­ers sue the maker, say­ing the cloth­ing is caus­ing health prob­lems.

Two Amer­i­can Air­lines flight at­ten­dants have filed a class-ac­tion law­suit against the man­u­fac­turer of con­tro­ver­sial new uni­forms, con­tend­ing that the cloth­ing is caus­ing health prob­lems for many em­ploy­ees.

The suit, which names Amer­i­can Air­lines flight at­ten­dants Thor Zur­briggen and Dena Catan as plain­tiffs, asks the court to order the man­u­fac­turer, Twin Hill, to re­call the uni­forms given to more than 60,000 em­ploy­ees world­wide and to set up med­i­cal mon­i­tor­ing for em­ploy­ees.

The com­plaint was filed Wed­nes­day in U.S. District Court in Chicago. It will be up to a judge to de­cide if the suit can pro­ceed as a class-ac­tion case.

Twin Hill is­sued a state­ment that it stands by its prod­uct. “Noth­ing in the com­plaint filed by two Amer­i­can Air­lines f light at­ten­dants changes the fact that there is ab­so­lutely no ev­i­dence link­ing any of the symp­toms al­leged to our uni­forms,” the com­pany said. Twin Hill is a sub­sidiary of Tai­lored Brands, based in Fre­mont, Calif.

Amer­i­can Air­lines said all em­ploy­ees were of­fered the op­tion of wear­ing al­ter­na­tive uni­forms. “We would never ask our team mem­bers to wear an un­safe uni­form,” said Lake­sha Brown, a spokes­woman for the air­line.

The law­suit re­peats com­plaints from Amer­i­can Air­lines em­ploy­ees who say the uni­forms, which were given to em­ploy­ees start­ing in Septem­ber, are the cause of health prob­lems such as rashes, headaches, fa­tigue, ver­tigo and res­pi­ra­tory prob­lems.

A union rep­re­sent­ing Amer­i­can Air­lines flight at­ten­dants says more than 3,500 flight at­ten­dants have filed com­plaints over the uni­forms.

Twin Hill has said tests show that the ma­te­ri­als used in the uni­forms con­tained noth­ing that could cause health prob­lems. Still, Amer­i­can Air­lines and Twin Hill announced in June that they would end their part­ner­ship af­ter the current con­tract ex­pires in 2020.

In the law­suit, Zur­briggen said he be­gan to ex­pe­ri­ence fa­tigue, rashes, eye ir­ri­ta­tion and throat ir­ri­ta­tion, among other health prob­lems, af­ter get­ting his new uni­form in Novem­ber. Catan said she suf­fered blind­ing headaches af­ter try­ing on her new uni­form.

Even af­ter re­plac­ing the uni­forms with other cloth­ing, Zubriggen and Catan said in the suit, the health prob­lems con­tin­ued when they came in con­tact with co-work­ers who con­tin­ued to wear the Twin Hill uni­forms.

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