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Wilson v. Southwest Airlines Co.

517 F. Supp. 292 (1981)

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Wilson v. Southwest Airlines Co.

United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas

517 F. Supp. 292 (1981)

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Facts

Gregory Wilson (plaintiff) sued Southwest Airlines Company (Southwest) (defendant) on behalf of a class of over 100 male applicants for Southwest’s refusal to hire men as flight attendants or ticket agents. Southwest had begun to restrict hiring for those positions to women in order to adhere to Southwest’s public image as an airline focused on the concept of love. Southwest relied on this image, which emphasized the femininity and sex appeal of Southwest’s flight attendants and ticket agents, in order to attract male customers to the airline. Southwest believed that the limitation of hiring for these positions to women was necessary in order to attract male customers and to preserve the authenticity and genuineness of Southwest’s female corporate personality. At trial, Southwest therefore argued that being female was a bona fide occupational qualification (BFOQ) for the jobs of flight attendants and ticket agents.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Higginbotham, J.)

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