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Frank v. United Airlines
United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
216 F.3d 845 (2000)
United Airlines, Inc. (United) (defendant) had a policy that imposed a maximum weight for its flight attendants. Flight attendants who exceeded the maximum weight faced suspension or termination. In 1979, a federal court ruled that United was allowed to impose maximum weight limits but had illegally applied its policy in a way that discriminated against female employees. Afterward, United revised its policy to increase the weight limits slightly. Based on a published life-insurance chart of desirable weights, United’s revised policy allowed male employees to weigh as much as a large-framed male, but it allowed female employees to weigh only as much as a medium-framed female. In 1992, Leslie Frank and other flight attendants (plaintiffs) filed a class action against United, alleging that United’s new maximum-weight policy illegally discriminated against female flight attendants because the standards for females were tougher than those for males. The flight attendants also argued that the standards illegally discriminated against older employees. In 1994, while the lawsuit was pending, United eliminated its maximum-weight policy and rehired flight attendants who had been fired under the policy. However, the class continued to seek damages for wages the flight attendants lost while suspended or terminated for their weight. Both sides moved for summary judgment. The district court ruled for United, dismissing each of the claims against United for varying reasons. The flight attendants appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Fletcher, J.)
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