August 01, 2002
Meetings & Conventions: Newsline newsline.gif (8042 bytes)   PASSENGERS CLAIM RACIAL DISCRIMINATION FOLLOWING 9/11
ACLU Files Five Suits Against Airlines
Turbulence ahead: Airlines face scrutiny in claims of bias. The American Civil Liberties Union, based in New York City, filed five discrimination lawsuits in federal court in June, accusing four major airlines of unfairly deplaning passengers because of their ethnicity.

The suits were filed in Baltimore, Md.; Los Angeles; Newark, N.J.; and San Francisco. While specifics vary, the cases pertain to reported incidents that occurred following Sept. 11 and involved passengers of Middle Eastern or Asian descent who had passed security checks and were allowed to board, only to then be ejected due to concerns of flight crew members or other passengers.

“The irrational bias of flight crews or fellow passengers gave rise to these men being considered ‘suspicious’ and unceremoniously and unapologetically kicked off their flights,” said ACLU staff attorney Reginald Shuford.

In one instance, plaintiff Edgardo Cureg claims he was removed from a Dec. 31 Continental Airlines flight to Tampa, Fla., because another passenger believed he and two others were acting suspiciously. The captain allegedly refused to take off until the three men were removed from the plane.

While Cureg reached his destination the next day, he later told reporters the incident left “a bitter taste that lingers in my soul to this day.”

Continental would not comment on the suit but insisted that the airline has “a longstanding policy against discrimination in any form.”

The lawsuits cite similar occurrances on American Airlines, Northwest Airlines and United Airlines. American and United could not be reached for a response, and Northwest declined to comment. These incidents are not isolated aberrations, according to the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee in Washington, D.C. Since October, the ADC claims it has received more than 60 discrimination complaints.

For its part, the Department of Transportation released a report that shows a three-month decline in complaints relating to race, religion, national origin or sex.

The ACLU’s Shuford, however, believes more suits will surface. “We continue to hear from Arab-American organizations that they are getting complaints,” he said.


What Association Executives Earn The gender gap in earnings grows in relation to size of organization, according to a 2001 compensation survey. Male CEOs Female CEOs Trade association $136,775 $92,125 Individual membership association $139,241 $85,204 Total staff size: 2 or fewer $75,000 $60,000 3 to 5 $95,640 $77,000 6 to 10 $116,550 $108,000 11 to 20 $138,200 $126,000 21 to 50 $201,923 $159,280 51 to 100 $237,900 $145,518 More than 100 $287,600 $249,233 Total annual budget: $300,000 or less $67,600 $54,789 $300,001 to $500,000 $75,600 $68,579 $500,001 to $750,000 $90,000 $72,800 $750,001 to $1 million $102,000 $87,525 $1,000,001 to $2.5 million $118,800 $112,425 $2,500,001 to $5 million $170,000 $137,100 $5,000,001 to $10 million $227,750 $160,585 $10,000,001 to $15 million $225,994 $171,750 More than $15 million $285,000 $256,269 Source: American Society of Association Executives

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