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WOMAN PILOT WINS SUIT OVER COCKPIT PORN.

Byline: Associated Press

A federal jury Thursday ordered Continental Airlines to pay $875,000 to a woman pilot who was offended by her male colleagues' practice of leaving dirty pictures around the cockpit.

The jury of five women and two men ruled that the photos constituted sexual harassment because they created a hostile work environment.

The jury declined to make the Houston-based airline pay punitive damages and found that Continental had not retaliated or sexually discriminated against Capt. Tammy S. Blakey in pay or assignment.

``I'm not disappointed,'' said Blakey, 38, of Arlington, Wash. ``The money wasn't as important as the message.''

The case exposed the long tradition among male airline pilots of leaving surprises in the cockpit for the next crew: lewd pictures slipped into flight manuals, hidden behind equipment panels and pasted in drawers.

``We're disappointed in the verdict and we're going to vigorously pursue an appeal,'' said Continental's top labor lawyer, Robin Curtis.

Blakey's lawyers had presented evidence she has lost about $400,000 in salary since going on unpaid leave in 1993 after filing her lawsuit.

The jury said Blakey should get $495,000 for lost pay, plus $500,000 for emotional distress, pain and suffering. But the jury, saying Blakey could have handled things differently, deducted $120,000.

Blakey said she was ready to return to work but admitted being a bit apprehensive.

She said Continental has trained its pilots to halt the practice of passing pornography. ``It never would have occurred if I had not filed a lawsuit,'' she said.

Last year, U.S.-based airlines reported there were 3,346 women among their 127,486 pilots - fewer than 3 percent.

Continental maintained that Blakey's complaints began only after her schedule changed in 1991, for reasons of seniority, and after airline officials expressed concern about how many days she missed.

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Photo: Tammy S. Blakey

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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Oct 17, 1997
Words:316
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