In 2019, at the age of 79, Ida Gomez Llanos was terminated from her employment as a flight attendant for Delta Airlines after 57 years of dedicated service. During her lengthy career, Ms. Llanos was recognized as one of the top 5 flight attendants in the U.S. and the top flight attendant in Los Angeles, CA. 

Why Did Delta Fire a 79-Year Old Flight Attendant?

Ms. Llanos was terminated after allegations of professional misconduct. Her fellow flight attendants accused her of multiple infractions against company policy. 

One colleague reported Ms. Llanos for wrongfully removing a carton of milk from an airplane. However, Ms. Llanos had actually purchased it prior to the flight. 

Other reports against Ms. Llanos claimed that she was spiking her coffee with alcohol. On one occasion, she was accused of failing to fill her assigned position and paying another flight attendant to cover her shift on an international flight instead.

In a wide-ranging lawsuit filed against Delta, Ms. Llanos claims she was subject to retaliation as a result of the jealousy of less-senior flight attendants. 

As Delta’s most senior flight attendant, Ms. Llanos was entitled to special perks and privileges including:

  • The ability to be the first to choose flights
  • The ability to take on additional flights
  • The ability to enjoy a higher salary than other flight attendants

Ms. Llanos’ perks were earned along with multiple commendations from Delta fliers over the years. 

Ms. Llanos’ suit against Delta seeks compensation for the mistreatment she suffered there. 

Her lawsuit asserts:

Ms. Llano claims that she was subjected to these behaviors on account of her race (Black) and sex (female). 

While suffering the behavior of her colleagues, Ms. Llanos made repeated complaints to her management. Ms. Llanos alleged that no steps were taken to remedy the situation and that Delta welcomed criticism of its oldest flight attendant to support her termination. 

What Are Companies Doing to Combat Age and Sex Discrimination?

Businesses recognize a distinct value created by a diverse workforce. In recent years, companies have been taking steps to ensure a full spectrum of uniqueness among their employees. 

They’ve got their work cut out for them. Research shows that gender-specific age stereotypes create barriers for women in the workplace. 

Companies first have to recognize that biases exist that lead to choices that amount to ageism. For example, it is a common assumption among hiring managers that older candidates are less technically-savvy than younger ones. Research has shown that’s not true.

Another common assumption is that older women lack ambition and would prefer low-stress job functions. Many wise women are returning to the workforce to offer the value of their skills and experiences.

Many companies use data analytics to search for patterns that show discrimination in operations such as:

  • Hiring
  • Promotion and professional development
  • Firing

Allowing employees to submit written complaints about incidents of negative remarks can help companies track these incidents of harassment. 

In Ms. Llano’s case, she claims that this process was abused. Ms. Llano says that her colleagues intentionally made false statements about her in reports to their superiors. How can companies make sure to take complaints seriously and avoid accusations like this?

Delta claims that their decision to terminate Ms. Llanos was supported by her job performance record. The company policy allowed for reports of employee misconduct, investigation, and a determination of an appropriate disciplinary outcome. 

In deciding the appropriate punishment, Delta policy permitted consideration of the employee’s length of service and overall employment history. Apparently, Ms. Llanos’ long history of exemplary and loyal service to Delta was outweighed by the wrongful accusations against her. 

If you have been a victim of workplace discrimination, contact Ferraro Vega Employment Lawyers today.

To learn more, call our San Diego law firm at (619) 693-7727 or contact us online.

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About The Author

Nicholas J. Ferraro

Nicholas J. Ferraro is a skilled labor and employment lawyer and the founder of Ferraro Vega Employment Lawyers, Inc. Based in San Diego, he focuses on representing employees in class action and collective litigation cases. Education: Mr. Ferraro attended the University of San Diego School of Law, where he was a member of the San Diego Law Review. Experience: Over a decade of legal practice, representing more than 100,000 employees. Court Admissions: Mr. Ferraro represents his clients throughout the State of California and the State of Washington. He is a member of the State Bar of California. Community Involvement: Active member of the California Employment Lawyers Association and the San Diego County Bar Association.