Judge Finds Issues With Fired Black Airline Worker's Lawsuit


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LOS ANGELES (CNS) - A Black former Envoy Air Inc. worker who alleges she was wrongfully fired in 2021 for complaining about being rushed through stored aircraft safety inspections will have to bolster all of her claims as well as her request for punitive damages in order for her lawsuit to move forward, a judge ruled Thursday.

Plaintiff Faatima Saleema Floyd's Los Angeles Superior Court alleges 10 causes of action, including discrimination, harassment, retaliation, failure to prevent discrimination, harassment and retaliation, breach of contract and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

During a hearing Thursday, Judge Douglas W. Stern did not dismiss Floyd's case as requested by defense attorneys, but said all of the 34-year-old plaintiff's allegations, as well as her claim for punitive damages, need more supporting facts. Addressing Floyd's discrimination claim, Stern said in his written ruling that the only allegations she makes that have anything to do with racial discrimination are "vague claims that her manager would use a different tone of voice and slang. There are no allegations in the complaint of discriminatory animus on the part of her employer toward members of plaintiff's race."

In their court papers, lawyers for Envoy Air -- a wholly owned subsidiary of American Airlines Group -- maintain that Floyd's claims lack merit.

"The facts are simple," the airline's lawyers argue in their court papers. "Envoy Air ... employed plaintiff Faatima Saleema Floyd as a fleet service clerk at Los Angeles International Airport until it terminated her on Nov. 24, 2021, for repeated insubordination to her supervisors."

Floyd admits that she told her supervisor, Christopher Kline, "You suck as a manager," according to the airline's attorneys' court papers, which also state that the plaintiff hoarded Envoy's vans that are used to transport employees around LAX so they can quickly service landing aircraft.

"Even assuming, arguendo, these claims are actionable, they are exceedingly basic," Envoy's attorneys argued in their court papers. "Despite this fact, plaintiff's discovery conduct has been very broad and aggressive."

Floyd was hired in May 2016 and her duties were to conduct safety inspections on stored aircraft, the suit states. She spoke out when she believed she was being hurried by supervisors to sign her approval of the safety checks, the suit states.

In a November 2021 meeting with a fourth supervisor, Floyd was told she was being fired for aggressive behavior toward a manager, the suit states.

Floyd responded, "I know I questioned things and that's why I'm being terminated," according to the suit filed Dec. 13, which further states that Floyd continues to suffer humiliation, emotional distress and physical pain because of her firing.

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