Continental Airline Pilots Reserves Men File Discrimination Lawsuit 




Continental Airline Pilots Reserves Men File Discrimination Lawsuit   

By Mike Mitchell


September 8, 2009: A class action lawsuit was filed in Federal Court in San Diego, California against Continental Airlines by the law firm Pilot Law P.C on behalf of four pilots. The suit alleges Continental Airlines discriminated against these pilots because they severed in the United States Military (see lawsuit PDF file).    

Continental Airlines employs more than 5,000 pilots, of those pilots approximately one thousand (1,000) are members of the United States Armed Services or National Guard.  

The pilots (Plaintiffs);  

Andrew Kissinger alleges that he was not hired by Continental due to his involvement with the U.S. Air Force Reserves. Kissinger is currently employed by another major air carrier and is also a Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Air Force Reserves. 


Derek Carder, a Lieutenant Commander in the Unites States Naval Reserve, Mark Bolleter, a retired Major from the Louisiana Air National Guard in 2007, and Drew Daugherty, a Lieutenant Colonel in the Texas Air National Guard are all pilots for Continental Airlines. 

These three pilots allege pilots do not accrue seniority while on military leave and as a result they are not able to bid on routes flown by the carrier, unable to get the more attractive trips they would otherwise win based on their length of service with Continental. The pilots also allege the airline does not pay benefits accrued while serving with the military. 

Federal law prohibits an employer from not hiring employees because the employee is on active duty or has served in the military, prohibits denying an employee of benefits that are normally offered to employees in the same category, the employer is prohibited from taking an action against an employee because that employee is or has served in the armed forces.   


The three pilots also alleged the airline management harasses pilots connected to the armed forces. Harassing comments by Continental and Continental management have included: 

“The company should not hire military pilots due to the inconvenience placed on the airlines' ability to schedule."  

"If you guys take more than three or four days a month of military leave, you're just taking advantage of the system."  

"We don't hire part time pilots. Their first commitment is to CAL." 'Tm trying to run a business here,..”  

"Your commander can wait. You work full time for me, part time for him. I need to speak with you, in person, to discuss your responsibilities here at Continental Airlines."  

"Continental is your big boss, the Guard is your little boss."  "You need to choose between CAL and the Navy."

Continental Airlines spokeswomen, Julie King stated this suit is baseless and completely without merit.

In 2006, three pilots brought a similar lawsuit against American Airlines. In 2008, the case was settled, American Airlines was ordered to give the pilots earned vacation and sick time while they had served in the reserves. American Airlines denied violating the law.

Continental has asked the federal court in San Diego for a change of venue in this class-action suit. The airline is requesting the case be moved to Houston, Texas.

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