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Monday, Oct 19, 2020

Flight attendants and employees sue Delta Air Lines over ‘toxic’ new uniforms

Delta employees said they suffered from a range of issues, including severe respiratory illnesses, rashes, blisters, boils and hair loss
More than 500 Delta Air Lines employees have filed a class-action lawsuit against Lands’ End, alleging that the uniforms provided by the clothing company are “toxic” and causing some workers health issues.

The new duds worn by thousands of flight attendants and maintenance workers “pose an ongoing, unreasonable risk of physical harm,” including threatening employees with “serious health problems because of an allergic and/or sensitisation response,” according to the lawsuit, which was filed in the Western District of Wisconsin Court.

Several Delta employees said they suffered from a range of issues, including severe respiratory illnesses, rashes, blisters, boils, hair loss, hives, sinus problems, headaches, nosebleeds and fatigue, NBC News reported.

The uniforms, which were rolled out in May 2018, include dresses, skirts, shirts, blouses, jumpers, jackets and pants. They’re worn by about 64,000 workers, including an estimated 24,000 flight attendants.

“These uniforms are high stretch, wrinkle and stain-resistant, waterproof, anti-static, and deodorising,” according to the lawsuit. “Lands’ End used various chemical additives and finishes to achieve these characteristics.

The suit, similar to one filed in New York by two Delta flight attendants back in May, is seeking damages for personal injuries, pain and suffering, as well as for emotional, financial and economic loss and distress. Plaintiffs also want Lands’ End to recall the uniforms.

In a statement to NBC News on Friday, the airline said they are dedicated to ensuring their workers are safe.

“Our top priority continues to be the safety of our employees, which is why we invested in a rigorous toxicology study to determine if there was a universal scientific issue with the uniform,” Delta said.

“The results of the study confirm our uniforms meet the highest textile standards – OEKO-TEX – with exception of the optional flight attendant apron, which we removed from the collection.”

Lands’ End declined to comment on the pending litigation.

A report issued by a workplace safety watchdog in the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention last June recommended that Delta offer employees alternative uniforms.

“It is possible that textile chemicals in the uniforms or the physical irritant properties of the uniform fabrics have caused skin symptoms among Delta employees,” according to the report.

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