Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.
United Airlines is trying to be much nicer these days.
Nicer than the days when it dragged a passenger off a plane and knocked some of his teeth out.
Nicer even than when one of its employees pushed a 71-year-old passenger to the ground, apparently knocking him out.
Yet now the airline’s being sued by a 60-year-old woman who claims United won’t let her wear clogs.
Edie Hall is a United Flight Attendant and has worked for the airline and the one it swallowed, Continental, for 32 years.
As the Houston Chronicle reports, she’s been wearing Dansko XP Pro brand since 2004 because of foot problems.
For a time, this was against airline rules. After 2013, it wasn’t.
Still, she claims in her lawsuit that her United bosses were fine with her wearing the clogs on the plane, but tried to stop her wearing her clogs while walking through the airport.
Perhaps the airline felt this transmitted some sort of bad image, but the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission found in Hall’s favor in May.
Yet she’s still suing.
She claims that United persists in saying that her clogs are against uniform policy when she’s anywhere but on the plane.
She insists that the airline keeps alternately allowing her clogs and then rescinding permission to wear them.
It all sounds as if there’s a clog in the communication system here.
I contacted United to ask for its view and will update, should a reply hotfoot its way to me.
United did tell the Houston Chronicle that there’s no legal basis for the suit, as the airline is happy for Hall to wear the shoes.
Perhaps this seems like an extremely petty dispute, one that surely could have been resolved in a conversation lasting a few minutes.
It’s still an example of what appears to be, at the very least, communication gone wrong.
If, as she insists, Hall’s disability is so severe that she needs to wear the clogs, is it impossible for United to make an exception?
Or might there be more to the tale than Hall and her lawyer have revealed?
But when you have a vast, unpopular company facing off against a 60-year-old employee of 32 years, it’s hard for human sympathies not to waft in one particular direction.
And that’s what doesn’t look good for United.