A Delta Air Lines flight attendant is suing the company, alleging he suffered financially after missing nearly a year of work because his employer would not immediately accommodate his shoe needs for a foot injury suffered on the job.
Armando Garcia of Norwalk maintains in his Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit filed Thursday that Delta repeatedly maintained his footwear choices were not aesthetic enough. The suit’s allegations include disability discrimination, retaliation and intentional infliction of emotional distress. He seeks unspecified damages.
A Delta Airlines representative did not immediately reply to a request for comment.
Garcia, who was hired by Delta in June 2007, suffered injuries to his legs, feet and back during a “botched airplane landing” in June 2016, the suit states. He took medical leave from work, but when he returned he continued to suffer foot pain despite taking painkillers and cortisone injections, according to the suit. His doctor suggested he wear medical shoes at work and gave him a note requesting that accommodation, the suit states.
But Delta refused his request and he was unable to return to the job, the suit states.
In June 2017, Delta requested more information regarding his shoe accommodation request, the suit states. He provided updated medical information and made a shoe proposal, the suit states. Delta rejected the shoe for aesthetic reasons, including that the shoe leather was not smooth enough, the suit states.
Garcia suggested a second shoe a month later, but it was again rejected for aesthetic reasons, the suit states. Delta recommended different shoes that did not accommodate the plaintiff’s medical condition, the suit alleges.
After further interactions between both sides that failed to resolve their differences, Delta in May 2018 accepted his use of the same shoe he proposed in June 2017, the suit states.
Garcia resumed his flight attendant duties and has used the shoes without any problems, but , but he “continues to suffer from the financial and emotional hardship of being needlessly forced out of work for almost a year, the suit states.
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