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Case Name EEOC v. United Airlines EE-WA-0105
Docket / Court 2:06-cv-01407-TSZ ( W.D. Wash. )
State/Territory Washington
Case Type(s) Disability Rights-Pub. Accom.
Equal Employment
Special Collection EEOC Study -- in sample
Attorney Organization EEOC
Case Summary
On September 28, 2006, the San Francisco district office of the EEOC brought this lawsuit against United Airlines in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington. The EEOC alleged that United Airlines had violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Civil Rights Act ... read more >
On September 28, 2006, the San Francisco district office of the EEOC brought this lawsuit against United Airlines in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington. The EEOC alleged that United Airlines had violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Civil Rights Act. Specifically, the complaint alleged that the defendant had refused reasonable accommodation to individuals with disabilities by disallowing them to work fewer than thirty hours per week. The EEOC claimed that these actions adversely affected their status as employees due to their disabilities and sought injunctive and monetary relief as well as attorney’s fees.

On February 14, 2008, the defendant filed a motion for summary judgment, which was denied on March 21 by Judge Thomas S. Zilly. The court held that there are material issues of fact as to the fundamental job duties of the employment position at issue and what constitutes a reasonable accommodation. In addition, the court held that the defendant’s offer of a three-year unpaid leave is not a “reasonable accommodation” for a disabled claimant who did not have a temporary medical condition.

On May 29, three other employees of United Airlines filed a motion to intervene as putative class representatives, but the court denied their intervention as class representatives and granted them leave to intervene as individual plaintiffs-intervenors on July 16. Both the EEOC and proposed intervenors’ motions for reconsideration of this decision was denied on August 7, 2008.

On August 18, the proposed intervenors appealed the decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. The appellate court dismissed the case for lack of jurisdiction on November 6, 2008 and remanded to the district court.

Back in the district court, on June 5, 2009, the intervenors filed a complaint and motion to certify class. On July 6, 2009, the motion for class certification was stricken with prejudice as inappropriately. On February 4, 2010, more employees of United Airlines filed a second motion to intervene. On March 6, the first three intervenor plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed the case and the second motion to intervene was withdrawn. On August 26, 2010, the defendant filed a sealed motion for summary judgment.

On December 17, 2010, the parties filed notice of a settlement agreement with an attached consent decree. That same day, the court approved the consent decree. The decree stipulated the following injunctive relief: 1) non-discrimination policies: United Airlines will permit reduced-hours schedules as reasonable accommodations for qualified individuals with disabilities in good faith and on a case-by-case basis. The parties also agreed that working fewer than 16 hours per week (the minimum schedule for United Airline's part-time workers) would be an unreasonable accommodation and would not be allowed. 2) training: United Airlines will train all supervisors involved in administering the reasonable accommodation process with respect to the interactive accommodation process, the requirements of the consent decree, among others. The trainer would be a qualified outside consultant, approved by the EEOC and knowledgeable in the ADA. 3) record keeping and reports: United Airline will mail to counsel a report of training provided and requests for reduced hours accommodations. In addition, United Airlines will pay $600,000 as damages to the plaintiff and each party will bear its own costs and attorneys’ fees.

The consent decree was set to terminate three years from date of entry unless the EEOC asked for a continuation. The case is closed, as there are no further activity on this case's docket as of March 2019.

Shankar Viswanathan - 06/03/2008
Sichun Liu - 03/11/2019

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Issues and Causes of Action
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Content of Injunction
Develop anti-discrimination policy
Discrimination Prohibition
Provide antidiscrimination training
Reasonable Accommodation
Retaliation Prohibition
disability, unspecified
Accommodation / Leave
Discharge / Constructive Discharge / Layoff
Other Conditions of Employment (including assignment, transfer, hours, working conditions, etc)
Disability (inc. reasonable accommodations)
Direct Suit on Merits
No EEOC Final Resolution Type
Disparate Treatment
Reasonable Accommodations
Plaintiff Type
EEOC Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Non-government for profit
Causes of Action Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12111 et seq.
Defendant(s) United Airlines, Inc.
Plaintiff Description Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, on behalf of one or more employees of United Airlines.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations EEOC
Class action status sought No
Class action status outcome Not sought
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 2010 - 2013
Filed 09/28/2006
Case Closing Year 2013
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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Court Docket(s)
W.D. Wash.
EE-WA-0105-9000.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
W.D. Wash.
Complaint [ECF# 1]
EE-WA-0105-0002.pdf | Detail
W.D. Wash.
Minute Order [ECF# 52]
EE-WA-0105-0004.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
W.D. Wash.
Complaint in Intervention [ECF# 173]
EE-WA-0105-0005.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
W.D. Wash.
Consent Decree [ECF# 338]
EE-WA-0105-0003.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Zilly, Thomas Samuel (W.D. Wash.) show/hide docs
EE-WA-0105-0003 | EE-WA-0105-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Cheung, Raymond T. (California) show/hide docs
EE-WA-0105-0003 | EE-WA-0105-9000
Crawford, Melton L. (Washington) show/hide docs
EE-WA-0105-0005 | EE-WA-0105-9000
Frank, Katrin E. (Washington) show/hide docs
Grande, Thomas R. (Hawaii) show/hide docs
EE-WA-0105-0005 | EE-WA-0105-9000
Healy, Teri L. (Washington) show/hide docs
Hernandez, Evangelina Patricia (California) show/hide docs
EE-WA-0105-0003 | EE-WA-0105-9000
Kucuk, Molly P. (Washington) show/hide docs
O'hara, Cindy S (California) show/hide docs
Olson, Kathryn Blaire (Washington) show/hide docs
Peck, Jonathan T. (California) show/hide docs
Powell, Molly (Washington) show/hide docs
Shaeffer, Joseph R. (Washington) show/hide docs
Stanley, John F. (Washington) show/hide docs
Tamayo, William Robert (California) show/hide docs
EE-WA-0105-0003 | EE-WA-0105-9000
Varady, Carl M. (Hawaii) show/hide docs
EE-WA-0105-0005 | EE-WA-0105-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Garcia, Christopher A. (Illinois) show/hide docs
Kadue, David D. (California) show/hide docs
Levine, Kari Erickson (California) show/hide docs
EE-WA-0105-0003 | EE-WA-0105-9000
Martin, Jonathan D. (California) show/hide docs
Murray, John T. (Georgia) show/hide docs
Silke, David W. (Washington) show/hide docs
Stephenson, Karen L. (Illinois) show/hide docs

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