UPDATE: Dec. 5, 2019: Delta, via a spokesperson, told HR Dive it stands by its decision: "When a violation of company policy is identified or inappropriate conduct is reported, Delta conducts a thorough investigation to determine the appropriate course of action — considering many factors, including the employee’s overall performance record and length of service. Decisions like these are not made lightly or without a comprehensive review by many."
- A new complaint alleges that a "hard-working, dedicated, and loyal" Delta flight attendant who had worked for the airline since 1962 was harassed, retaliated against and wrongfully terminated (Gomez Llanos v. Delta Air Lines, Inc., No. 19STCV41321 (Calif. Superior Court, Nov. 15, 2019)).
- Ida Gomez Llanos, who is now 79, was Delta's most senior flight attendant in 2018, according to the complaint, and had an "outstanding" work history. Starting that year, however, she said was subjected to age-based discrimination and harassing conduct by supervisors and co-workers, including rumors that she improperly paid a co-worker to work her position and later failed to work at her designated position on a different flight. She was also accused of stealing aircraft items for personal use and spiking her coffee with alcohol during a flight.
- Llanos claimed managers and co-workers engaged in those alleged actions to force her out. The lawsuit requests a jury trial.
According to the complaint, Llanos was targeted by both co-workers (who, the complaint said, resented the privileges she had earned over her decades of employment) and Delta (which "intended to get rid of its most senior flight attendants").
The allegations show that HR can play an important role in ensuring an organization's culture is not just legally compliant, but also inclusive of multiple factors, including age, race, religion, gender identity and more. Diversity and inclusion experts advise employers to obtain commitment from the highest levels of the organization, create a culture that values openness and embed the diversity and inclusion plan within the company's organizational framework. Additionally, behavioral training for employees in areas such as curiosity and responsibility can improve team performance and well-being.
Diversity and inclusion efforts can also help attract and retain quality employees. Most job seekers are looking for employers that value equity, inclusion and diversity, according to a recent ZipRecruiter survey. Millennials will stay twice as long at companies that do, the research revealed, and 90% of Millennials and Gen X said a company's firm commitment to workplace diversity affects their decision to work there.