Frontier Airlines has settled a discrimination lawsuit brought by a group of flight attendants who claimed the carrier discriminated against them during pregnancy and while breastfeeding.
Denver-based Frontier agreed to keep or change several policies to address the needs of pregnant and lactating personnel in settling the litigation, the American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado, which represented the employees, announced Wednesday.
In their 2019 federal lawsuit, the four employees alleged that Frontier forced them to take unpaid leave for pregnancy-related absences and did not make it possible for them to pump breast milk while working.
Frontier at the time insisted that it offered “a number of accommodations for pregnant and lactating pilots and flight attendants within the bounds of protecting public safety, which is always our top priority.”
Under the settlement, Frontier agreed to clarify that pregnancy-related absences are not subject to disciplinary action, The Denver Gazette reported.
Flight attendants unable to fly because of pregnancy or lactation will be provided the same accommodations as those with other medical conditions, including medical leave or temporary ground duty.
The airline also will keep in place a recent change allowing flight attendants to use wearable breast pumps during flight, provide lactation facilities at its base locations and provide information on lactation facilities at other airports.
“Future flight attendants won’t have to worry about how they are going to fit in pumping between flights or wonder where they will be able to pump safely,” plaintiff Melissa Hodgkins said in a statement released by the ACLU. “I gave up breastfeeding to provide for my family, and no one should have to make that choice again.”
“We’re proud to be at the forefront of accommodating the needs of pregnant and breastfeeding mothers in the airline industry,” said Jacalyn Peter, Frontier’s vice president of labor relations.
Two lawsuits originally were filed in 2019 by a New York law firm, the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Colorado and the Women’s Rights Project of the ACLU Foundation.
Attorneys filed two lawsuits because Frontier’s policies for flight attendants and pilots were different, according to the ACLU. The litigation involving the four female pilots continues in federal court in Denver.