Former flight attendant terminated for suffering migraines reaches settlement with airline

John Suayan, Galveston Bureau Jun. 13, 2013, 3:12pm

HOUSTON - A former flight attendant's wrongful termination lawsuit against an airline is in the books as both parties have reached a settlement, recent court documents say. 

A conditional dismissal order from Houston federal Judge Nancy F. Atlas was entered into Racquel Martin's suit that targeted ExpressJet Airlines Inc. on June 7.

Martin sought legal action in September 2012, nearly a year after ExpressJet terminated her for displaying symptoms associated with migraine headaches.

She pointed out that the defendant put her to work on Nov. 24, 2011, despite knowing she was sick.

According to the suit, she worked the first flight of the day “but became even more ill because of her migraine," and her condition “quickly worsened” on the second flight as “her vision became blurry and she felt as if she was going to pass out.”

ExpressJet fired the plaintiff on Dec. 2, 2011, “for allegedly giving the appearance of sleeping on the aircraft” though she insisted “the defendant was aware that (she) was not sleeping but ill because of her disability.”

It provided an original answer on Nov. 26, 2012, insisting Martin “took actions inconsistent with such allegations” and her claims were asserted outside of the applicable statute of limitations.

The respondent also argued that its actions regarding the complainant’s employment were motivated by legitimate business reasons, and “it would have reached the same employment decisions in the absence of any discriminatory or retaliatory motive.”

Martin improperly exercised her Family Medical Leave Act rights, ExpressJet said.

Judge Atlas's order states the suit can be reinstated "if any party represents to the court on or before Aug. 5, 2013, that the settlement could not be completely documented."

Case No. 4:13-CV-2707

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