published Saturday, August 20th, 2011

Chattanooga women sue airline, claim gender, age discrimination

Three Hamilton County women have sued Piedmont Airlines and U.S. Airways for gender and age discrimination they say caused them to lose their jobs.

Vicki Sanders, 48; Vicky Manchew, 54; and Judith Ann Matthews, 63, filed the suit in Circuit Court on Thursday, alleging that, in the months prior to their termination, their supervisor made "numerous age and gender biased comments," according to court documents.

The supervisor, a woman, said she "wanted younger employees, that she wanted male employees, and that she would get rid of all the older employees."

The women claim that at the Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport, the supervisor also treated younger employees more favorably by giving them preferential shifts and allowing them to violate policies with nearly no repercussions.

The lawsuit asks for damages related to lost wages, future promotions and "mental anguish" suffered from the firings, but it does not specify a dollar amount.

Calls to Piedmont and U.S. Airways were not returned Friday. Both companies operate under the U.S. Airways Group.

The airline group filed for bankruptcy protection in 2002, according to court documents.

The Charlotte [N.C.] Observer reported that in May the U.S. Airways Pilots Association staged a protest outside the Charlotte/Douglas International Airport against the airline's alleged intimidation tactics against pilots after the union sued the company.

U.S. Airways is based in Tempe, Ariz., operates in Chattanooga and has its busiest hub in Charlotte, according to the newspaper.

Neither the women nor their attorney, Frank Pinchak, could be reached for comment.

Federal court filings show another lawsuit filed by four black employees in Pennsylvania alleged U.S. Airways had placed white workers in less physically demanding jobs and denied transfers to other positions by qualified black employees.

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about Todd South...

Todd South covers courts, poverty, technology, military and veterans for the Times Free Press. He has worked at the paper since 2008 and previously covered crime and safety in Southeast Tennessee and North Georgia. Todd’s hometown is Dodge City, Kan. He served five years in the U.S. Marine Corps and deployed to Iraq before returning to school for his journalism degree from the University of Georgia. Todd previously worked at the Anniston (Ala.) Star. Contact ...

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