A lawsuit filed Nov. 1 in federal court claims a United Airlines flight attendant was discriminated against because she wore medical-necessary shoes to work.
Edie Hall worked for Continental Airlines, which later merged with United Airlines, for a total of 32 years.
“It’s very, very frustrating for me,” Hall said. “I have pain every day, but I just push through it.”
Hall says she had surgery on her right foot in 2013 in which a plate and several screws were implanted in her foot. Her doctor prescribed she wear Dansko XP Pro clogs because she is unable to arch her foot.
Hall claims she was allowed to wear the clogs on the plane while it was in service, but was told she could not wear the shoes while traveling to and from her car and through the terminals to planes because it was a violation of United’s dress code.
“United has made a concerted effort to push back against its employees with disabilities,” said Hall’s attorney Bob Debes. “And we’ve seen this repeatedly.”
Hall says she was repeatedly told to return to the doctor to get notes authorizing the shoes, and each time she did, clearance from United to wear the shoes was eventually revoked.
Hall’s attorney says his client filed a claim with the EEOC which determined in 2017 United had been discriminating against hall in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
"There has been a lot of litigation in this area with United,” Debes said. "They have even taken cases all the way to the Supreme Court to dilute the accommodations afforded under the ADA.”
A spokesperson from United gave KHOU 11 News the following e-mailed statement concerning the current case:
"We permitted Ms. Hall to wear the shoe of her choice since 2013 and we’ve communicated to her that she may continue to wear the shoe as long as she needs. We do not believe there is any legal basis for this lawsuit.”
Debes says the airline is not being truthful and anticipates more claims from United employees will soon come to light.
Hall is still working for United Airlines as a flight attendant.
"Because I love what I do,” Hall said. “I’ve done it for 32 years. It’s all I ever wanted to do."