A man identified as gender nonbinary has filed a complaint against his employer for having to wear a discriminatory uniform.
Flight attendant Justin Wetherell filed a human rights complaint against Alaska Airlines headquartered in the city of SeaTac, Washington State, USA, on Monday, 12th December.
The cabin crew member reportedly alleged that the company’s uniform and presentation requirements discriminate against nonbinary and gender-fluid people.
Wetherell who does not label themself as neither exclusively male nor female and uses the pronouns they, them, and their, has reportedly worked in the company since 2014.
But after reportedly having spent years trying to convince company officials to reconsider their policy, the flight attendant then turned to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) for help.
Wetherell said: “Executive management refused to consider my perspective, routinely dismissing my gender identity, gender expression, and complaints of discrimination.
“After it became abundantly clear Alaska Airlines had no intention to change the discriminatory policy, I reached out to the ACLU for assistance.”
Wetherell claimed that the company’s dress code hade a huge effect on their psychological and emotional health because of the strict gender-based guidelines that had to be followed.
They said: “Working as a flight attendant has become increasingly stressful, leading to panic attacks before and during scheduled shifts.
“My insomnia, anxiety, and depression have been exacerbated as a result of the discriminatory policy that excludes my identity.”
Now the Office of the Washington State Attorney General filed a complaint before the Washington State Office of Administrative Proceedings on behalf of the state’s Human Rights Commission.
The complaint challenged the uniform and grooming policies of Alaska Airlines for violating the Washington Law Against Discrimination (WLAD).
It came nearly two years after the ACLU and Justin had filed a complaint with the commission, informing it that the company’s policies discriminate against non-binary and gender fluid employees.
A part of the complaint stated: “Justin’s gender expression is fluid, meaning that Justin’s external manifestations of gender are not exclusively masculine or feminine.”
Justin meanwhile said in a statement obtained by Newsflash: “I hope the filing from the state of Washington will push Alaska Airlines to finally fix their discriminatory and illegal uniform policy.
“I look forward to a resolution of my three-year struggle to have my gender identity and expression respected by my employer.”
The commission initiated an investigation into the complaint and found out evidence to support the flight attendant’s claims.
Alaska Airlines reportedly continued to maintain the same policy three months after the investigation was concluded in favour of Justin.
ACLU staff attorney Malita Picasso said: “Today’s filing sends an important message on behalf of all workers facing discriminatory and archaic dress codes at work.
“The airline industry has a long history of enforcing discriminatory rules governing employees’ appearance, and Alaska Airlines has a chance to bring that history to an end.
“We are eager for this matter to be resolved fairly and efficiently, and for Alaska Airlines to allow Justin and other employees to use the airline’s uniform and grooming options that respect their rights as workers and as individuals.’
The American airline has not made an official statement yet.