The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced today that United Airlines would pay $305,000 and additional relief to settle a religious discrimination lawsuit.

Religious discrimination

The lawsuit filed by the EEOC against United Airlines was to defend a Buddhist pilot who lost his Federal Aviation Administration medical certificate because of alcohol dependency. United requires its pilots with substance abuse struggles who wish to obtain new medical certificates from the FAA to attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.

The pilot, a Buddhist, did not want to participate in AA meetings because of the religious content and requested approval to attend a Buddhist peer support group. According to the lawsuit, United denied the pilot’s request, preventing the pilot from obtaining another FAA medical certificate which would have allowed him to fly again.

United’s alleged actions violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, prohibiting discrimination based on religion. The title requires that employers make reasonable accommodations for sincerely held religious beliefs so long as they do not prove a hardship for the employer.

“Employers have the affirmative obligation to modify their policies to accommodate employees’ religious beliefs. If they require their employees to attend AA as part of a rehabilitation program, they must make sure that they allow for alternatives for their employees who have religious objections to AA.” – Jeffrey Burstein, New York Regional Attorney, EEOC

United will pay the pilot $305,000 and reinstate him into the HIMS program. The airline will also allow him to attend a non-12-step peer recovery program. From now on, the airline will accept religious accommodations for those in its HIMS program.

“We are pleased that United will now accommodate its pilots who have religion-based objections to mandatory AA attendance.” – Timothy Riera, New York District Director, EEOC

Recent United Airlines news

United brings back kids’ meals

United announced today that it is bringing back kids’ meals on select flights when ordered in advance. At the beginning of the pandemic, United, like many airlines worldwide, reduced its inflight food offerings to minimize contamination. Last year, United gradually began restoring meal services, but children’s meals are just now making their return.

Children’s meals will be available on flights longer than 2,000 miles, and complimentary meal service, including domestic routes to Hawaii (excluding from the West Coast) and international long-haul flights.

United Club Fly

A few days ago, United announced an exciting new lounge type, hoping to benefit passengers in a rush. The new club at the Denver International Airport is called United Club Fly, a grab-and-go lounge. The lounge features premade snacks and meals passengers can pick up and take with them.

United designed the lounge with speed in mind. Club Fly is set up in a way that ensures a one-way flow of traffic to keep people moving through the lounge. The club is not meant for sitting and lounging and, because of this, only features 16 seats. Passengers looking to sit, relax, work, or enjoy more food can continue using the United Club locations in DEN.

  • United-Airlines-Boeing-777-300(ER)--1

    United Airlines

    IATA/ICAO Code:

    Airline Type:
    Full Service Carrier

    Chicago O’Hare International Airport, Denver International Airport, Guam International Airport, Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport, Los Angeles International Airport, Newark Liberty International Airport, San Francisco International Airport, Washington Dulles International Airport

    Year Founded:

    Star Alliance

    Scott Kirby

    United States


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