Harassment charges against airline probed

March 13, 2000|By LOS ANGELES TIMES

LOS ANGELES -- The federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is investigating allegations that minority employees of American Airlines at Los Angeles International Airport are being racially harassed, according to interviews and court documents.

Citing agency rules, commission officials have declined to comment on the investigation, which has included many interviews of American Airlines employees and the subpoenas of records in a former employee's civil rights lawsuit against the airline.

The airline has been the target of at least two civil rights suits by former employees alleging racial harassment at American's Los Angeles maintenance facility. One suit was settled in October for an undisclosed amount. A second, which was filed in January, is scheduled for a hearing in federal court here today.

The airline has faced legal action alleging discrimination at other facilities. In October, a Miami jury awarded $950,000 in damages to a black former mechanic at the company's American Eagle subsidiary, saying that he had been subjected to a hostile work environment.

In the current Los Angeles case, Harold H. Archuleta, an American employee for nine years, contends that he was fired in retaliation for complaints he made about safety violations at American and because he attempted to assist Charles L. Walker, another former American mechanic, in a racial-discrimination suit he filed against the company.

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