Flight Attendant Sues JetBlue over Dismissal

By | August 22, 2012


JetBlue Flight Attendant Roberto Rodriguez is suing JetBlue, claiming he was unfairly dismissed from his job.

According to Rodriguez, he and a fellow flight attendant he’d shared a room with arrived late at the airport for a flight due to his hotel not providing the requested wakeup call. Arriving barely in time for the flight, the flight attendant and his roommate were removed from the flight and asked to take a breathalyzer test.

Rodriguez suffers from epilepsy, and has to take regularly timed medication. He insists local JetBlue staff denied him access to his medication as they awaited testing for more than two hours, until they finally permitted him to take it just before he was to be tested. But, shortly afterward, he slipped into an epileptic seizure and was taken to the hospital.

After he was released, his manager sought to have him sign a report, claiming he failed a preliminary breathalyzer test and refused a followup. He insists he has no recollection of taking a test, that JetBlue refused to show evidence of said test, and that he could not have refused a followup as he was having a seizure at the time and was in no condition to do so.

JetBlue recorded the incident as a refusal to submit, and he was suspended and then terminated. Rodriguez is thus suing for a violation of JetBlue’s own procedures, as well as various federal laws related to individuals with disabilities and medical emergencies. He is asking for damages, recovery of wages and benefits, legal costs, etc.

We have no confirmation as to whether or not Mr. Rodriguez’s accusations are based in fact and to what degree. That is for the legal system to decide. But, JetBlue is an airline that prides itself on its workplace conditions, as if the workplace becomes less pleasant, the airline could face unionization efforts, which management wishes to avoid.

But, if this did indeed happen, then JetBlue has a lot to answer for.