WOMAN PILOT WINS SUIT OVER COCKPIT PORN.
Byline: Associated Press Associated Press: see news agency.
Associated Press (AP)
Cooperative news agency, the oldest and largest in the U.S. and long the largest in the world.
A federal jury Thursday ordered Continental Airlines to pay $875,000 to a woman pilot who was offended of·fend
v. of·fend·ed, of·fend·ing, of·fends
1. To cause displeasure, anger, resentment, or wounded feelings in.
2. 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 sexual harassment, in law, verbal or physical behavior of a sexual nature, aimed at a particular person or group of people, especially in the workplace or in academic or other institutional settings, that is actionable, as in tort or under equal-opportunity statutes. because they created a hostile work environment A hostile work environment exists when an employee experiences workplace harassment and fears going to work because of the offensive, intimidating, or oppressive atmosphere generated by the harasser. .
The jury declined to make the Houston-based airline pay punitive damages Monetary compensation awarded to an injured party that goes beyond that which is necessary to compensate the individual for losses and that is intended to punish the wrongdoer. 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 emotional distress n. an increasingly popular basis for a claim of damages in lawsuits for injury due to the negligence or intentional acts of another. Originally damages for emotional distress were only awardable in conjunction with damages for actual physical harm. , pain and suffering. But the jury, saying Blakey could have handled things differently, deducted de·duct
v. de·duct·ed, de·duct·ing, de·ducts
1. To take away (a quantity) from another; subtract.
2. To derive by deduction; deduce.
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.
Photo: Tammy S. Blakey
Offended by photos