Toxic Uniforms

January 16, 2019

American Airlines (AA) rolled out new uniforms for its employees in 2016. After wearing them, however, some employees complained of adverse symptoms resulting from toxic exposure, including rashes, vision problems, headaches, and severe respiratory issues. In some cases, pilots doubted their ability to perform their assigned duties safely and had to use personal sick-time off to recuperate. Now, the airline is facing accusations that it knew of the danger posed by the toxic uniforms and knowingly tried to cover it up.

Lawsuit Against American Airlines

Approximately 40 AA employees have filed suit against the company, claiming that it knew the uniforms were toxic and distributed them to employees anyway. The original lawsuit named AA as a defendant alongside Twin Hill, the uniform supplier.

The judge only found enough evidence to proceed with the case against Twin Hill. The plaintiffs were given the opportunity to amend and resubmit their complaint, which they did in October.

Allegations Against American Airlines Management

The case is now going forward on the amended complaint, which seeks damages for the alleged fraud perpetrated against AA employees. The complaint states that testing on the uniforms did not indicate they were safe to wear, and top leaders were informed of the potential toxicity due to chemicals in the fabric.

Yet, according to the complaint, AA chose to ignore the warning signs, in order to rollout the uniforms according to their previously-established timeline. Following the launch of the new uniforms, thousands of AA employees began to experience adverse symptoms, including:

  • coughing
  • fatigue
  • flu-like symptoms
  • headaches
  • hives
  • itching
  • rashes/skin irritation
  • shortness of breath
  • vision problems
  • vomiting
  • watery eyes

The Allied Pilots Association (APA) reported that wear-testers were having adverse reactions that subsided when they stopped wearing the uniforms for a few days. Chemical reports from testing indicated that trace amounts of known carcinogens, endocrine disruptors, and allergens were present – chemicals that may become more dangerous when wet or heated.

The APA claims that it recommended a different uniform manufacturer with a history of providing safe uniforms; but management ignored that recommendation.

AA management allegedly told employees who reported symptoms to either order the non-wool alternative uniforms, which were made by the same company and contained similar toxins, or go back to wearing their old ones.

AA claims that the uniforms are completely safe and that many team members have worn them without any adverse reactions. The company has, however, ordered new uniforms from a different supplier, which are currently being field tested by over one thousand employees.

Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Larry Pitt & Associates, P.C. Obtain Compensation for Work-Related Illnesses

If you experienced adverse symptoms due to your work uniform or environment, contact a Philadelphia workers’ compensation lawyer at Larry Pitt & Associates, P.C. Call us at 888-PITT-LAW or complete our online contact form to arrange a free consultation.

We proudly represent injured workers in Berks CountyBucks CountyChester CountyDelaware CountyMontgomery CountyPhiladelphia County and throughout Pennsylvania, including those in the communities of AbingtonAmblerArdmoreBala CynwydBensalemClifton HeightsCrum Lynne, DarbyDowningtownDoylestownDrexel HillEssington, FolcroftGlenoldenHaverfordHavertownHolmesKutztown, Lansdowne, Media, Merion StationMorton, Narberth, Norristown, NorwoodPhiladelphiaProspect Park, QuakertownReadingRoxboroughSharon HillUpper Darby, West Chester and Wynnewood.