Members of a union representing 9,400 Southwest Airlines flight attendants say they are angered and disappointed by the remarks made by a pilot who used homophobic, misogynistic, and ageist terms to refer to members of his flight crew.
TWU Local 556 president Thom McDaniel said Tuesday that the airline's management did not do enough to punish the pilot whose words were broadcast to several other pilots and air traffic control operators. He added that the union is consulting with attorneys to decide whether a complaint will be filed against Southwest to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
"The official response from Southwest’s spokespeople and leaders has only added ‘insult to injury,'" McDaniel said in a statement. "Calling this broadcast a ‘private conversation’ cannot dismiss this incident. There is no place in our workplace for any conversation that demeans, insults and discriminates against other employees."
As reported Wednesday, the unidentified pilot's obscenity-laden, four-minute rant obstructed communication between pilots and air traffic controllers across Texas in March. The conversation between the pilot and copilot concerned the former's displeasure with the fact that he found none of the flight attendants he worked with suitable for dating. In the conversation he used gay slurs and misogynistic terms.
Southwest Airlines spokeswoman Brandy King said the pilot was suspended without pay and was directed to enroll in diversity training before being reinstated.
"The actions of this pilot are, without question, inconsistent with the professional behavior and overall respect that we require from our employees," King said in a statement to Houston TV station KPRC.