American Airlines Drops Lawsuit Against Gailen David
American has dropped their lawsuit against me as part of a settlement that we were able to reach just moments before the hearing began. Although we’d been trying to reach an agreement which would bring the lawsuit to an end, AA would not agree to abandon efforts to silence me and infringe upon my rights of free speech until the threat of public embarrassment became a true possibility. Although the agreement was reached prior to the hearing, I still opted to follow through with an appearance before Judge Lowe in order to demonstrate to American Airlines that their tactics to silence and intimidate their workers are no longer effective and will backfire should they continue to attempt to use them. I also felt that the situation would also serve as a warning to other corporations everywhere.
There were news crews from Fox and NBC as well as other press at the hearing and I was pleased to have the opportunity to provide a statement to them for their newscasts which began at 5:30AM that morning and ran through the 11PM broadcasts.
Statement from my attorneys following the hearing:
From the outset of this litigation, Mr. David has staunchly denied American’s claims that he took or disclosed any confidential information of American. Mr. David also has been firm in his conviction this lawsuit infringes his First Amendment rights of free speech and the right to petition; he also was concerned about the precedent such infringement may have had on other current and former employees of American.
Due, however, to the continuing cost and the emotional toll on Mr. David of this litigation, he ultimately agreed to a settlement with American. Our client is pleased with the ultimate outcome of the case, wherein there were no admissions of any liability or wrongdoing by Mr. David, and requiring no monies to be paid by him, but which resulted in a dismissal with prejudice of all of American’s claims against Mr. David as of the date of the settlement.
And the settlement does not affect Mr. David’s pending union grievance proceeding against American wherein Mr. David is seeking to have his employment as an American Flight Attendant reinstated; he hopes to ultimately return to American and endeavor to improve the work environment for all employees.
The following was posted prior to the hearing:
On September 5th, 2012, Americam Airlines will ask the Judge to sanction me and/or send me to jail for standing up for the workers of American Airlines who are fighting to save their careers as their jobs are being eliminated or outsourced and their working conditions intentionally made intolerable by the current management team.
They are attempting to silence me and every other worker who speaks out. Thank you for standing with me to defend our basic rights as Americans.
This fight has been at a great personal and professional cost, but I cannot allow what is happening to occur without calling out to working people everywhere to find their voice and stand up for what is right. With the work I do in the community to help people start new careers with Dress for Success Miami; it is also my responsibility to do everything I can to preserve the basic rights and working conditions of people everywhere. What sense would it make not to?
American Airlines has filed a complaint and asked the Tarrant County Court to hold me in contempt after I posted the following article: “What I would do in my first 100 days as CEO for American Airlines” Twitter Feed | Live tweets from my trip to Texas
Court Document: You may read the actual court filing here
HOW THIS HAPPENED:
October 2009:I listened as Lauri Curtis, AA VP Onboard Service, stated in a meeting (with trainee Pursers and Purser Advisory Board Reps present) that she sees AA moving to a place in which flight attendants don’t continue to fly as a career. She also stated that AA has older flight attendants and Virgin America does not- this is the direction she saw AA moving in. I was appalled, yet I knew that this was the beginning of a master plan to “smoke out” dedicated employees as a means of lowering cost. So what should flight attendant and other employees, who’ve built their careers around building American Airlines, do now that the current leadership at American has decided they have no use for them anymore? (BTW: Bain Consulting, once led by Mitt Romney, has provided their services to AA for years, designing the blueprint for American Airlines to rid the company of career employees; outsourcing their positions to lower paid, mostly outsourced workers with no benefits)
Smoke Out: A process in which conditions are made so intolerable that employees will voluntarily quit without the need for severance packages. Rules are also adjusted which make it easier for the company to terminate employees based on complex technicalities. Open positions are then filled with outsourced workers or employees hired at much lower rates of pay and benefits.
November 2009: I resign as a Purser training instructor
April 2010: I resign as the Miami Purser Advisory Board Rep (I had been developing the Purser Conferences for 3 years) due to the fact that I could no longer “sell” what AA had come to be to my coworkers.
April 2010: I took a leave of absence to decide the future of my AA career and to use my creativity to put together my own platform rather than continue to develop AA programs and videos
April 2010-February 2012: Took care of myself personally, developed my websites, my Sky Steward and Jetiquette brands and created my own syndicated travel segment for television.
February 2012: Received the Lauri Curtis letter on my iPhone and became outraged by the message. Flight attendants were to accept having their contribution to AA disregarded and their careers dismantled.
February 2012: Created my first video in which I read Lauri’s letter dressed in drag (later the character would be come the Aluminum Lady)
March 2012: Decided to use my platform to let the world know about what the employees of AA were being put through. Made more Aluminum Lady videos and obtained as much press as I could.
March 14, 2012: I was terminated from AA. AA accused me of mining Sabre since I had published travel information of AA execs who were living the high-life at such a critical time in the company’s history. e.g. Don Carty and family demonstrated the culture of arrogance among AA’s leaders, current and former, as they bumped paying passengers to coach so that they could be accommodated in first class.
Actually, I had been privy to VIP lists for over 3 years that were made available to me by my two purser managers in Miami. I still have over 1000 of these VIP lists, yet I never released any travel information of the hundreds of celebrities or other VIP’s traveling on AA that were included on these lists. The only info I published was that of AA execs and board members as they displaced paying passengers to coach so that they could be accommodated in first class. In other cases, I detailed their extravagant globetrotting activities even as American Airlines pleaded their bankruptcy case to the US Bankruptcy Court.
American also sent letters to customers who had complained about my termination in which they made statements that were not only false, but that violated employment privacy in an effort to discredit me.
April 16th 2012: American Airlines filed a lawsuit against me in Texas [see court filing] as a means to not only intimidate and silence me and other workers, but to destroy me financially by saddling me with enormous legal bills.
April-May 2012: AA began harassing my coworkers and accusing them of supplying me with private travel information of executives and board members. They even projected a photo taken at my birthday party and asked a flight attendant who was being investigated to identify other AA employees in the photo.
June 2012: I agreed to stop posting derogatory information about AA until July 23rd and AA agreed to cease efforts to subpoena my private phone and email records which would show any messages of support or other benign communications I may have had with AA employees. Even though AA was now aware that I had been receiving information via the VIP lists and not AA employees, they continued to harass anyone who publicly supported me and the cause.
July 2012: AA informed my attorneys that I could promote the YES vote to the final offer of a contract being offered to flight attendants that drastically reduced pay, benefits, retirement healthcare and much more as they leveraged the threat of even more severe cuts that could be imposed under bankruptcy. I decided to refrain from assisting AA with promoting this unfair contract even if it could have been a way to ingratiate myself with them.
July 2012: American continued their campaign to replace career AA employees with outsourced workers from companies that were now being run by former upper-level executives of American. I could no longer remain silent. I post an article titled “What I would do in my first 100 days as CEO of American Airlines”
July 2012: AA complained to the Tarrant County Court and asked that I be held in contempt of court which would possibly result in jail time.
July 23rd hearing: Postponed the day before.
SEPT 5th- 10:30AM: Hearing is rescheduled for this day.
I am willing 100% to have American succeed in having me thrown into jail for speaking the truth and embarrassing those who are destroying this company and the careers of tens of thousands of people who have been dedicated for so long. It will allow the public to see of just how far the executives of AA will go to send fear and intimidation through the employee ranks as they eliminate jobs only to replace them with outsource contracts. I am doing this for me, for you and for workers everywhere who are being disrespected and disregarded. I know I am doing the right thing- probably the last thing I will do as an AA employee -active or terminated. I appreciate your support.