Friendly skies they are not — at least according to the more than 500 Delta Air Lines employees who are taking Lands’ End to court over its uniforms.
The workers have filed a lawsuit against the retailer, alleging that the uniforms it manufactured for the airline are causing serious health problems. The suit — filed in federal court in Wisconsin (where Lands’ End is headquartered) — claims that the uniforms “pose an ongoing, unreasonable risk of physical harm … including threatening the [employees] with future serious health problems because of an allergic and/or sensitization response.”
Workers who conducted their own independent tests on the garments say they found heavy metals and unsafe levels of chemicals such as mercury, formaldehyde and bromine. As a result, they report suffering a string of health problems including migraine headaches, blurred vision, fatigue, tinnitus, nosebleeds, vocal cord dysfunction, breathing difficulties, skin blisters and rashes.
In their suit, the plaintiffs cited a June 26, 2019, report from the National Institute of Occupational Safe and Health that determined that it “is possible that textile chemicals in the uniforms or the physical irritant properties of the uniform fabrics have caused skin symptoms among Delta employees.”
Delta’s roughly 64,000 workers — including flight attendants, customer service ticket, ramp and gate agents, Sky Club workers, and maintenance and technology personnel — have been wearing the uniforms since May of 2018. The designs were created in collaboration with leading fashion designer Zac Posen. A Facebook group launched to address employee concerns about the uniforms counts more than 6,000 members.
Despite its employees’ complaints, Delta, who is not named as a defendant in the lawsuit, said that it believes the uniforms are safe. “Our top priority continues to be the safety of our employees, which is why we invested in a rigorous toxicology study to determine if there was a universal scientific issue with the uniforms,” the company said in a statement. “The results of the study confirm our uniforms meet the highest textile standards.”
A spokesperson for Lands’ End told FN that the company does not comment on pending litigation.
This isn’t the first time U.S. airline employees have alleged that their uniforms pose a health hazard. In 2017, American Airlines cut ties with apparel manufacturer Twin Hill after complaints from flight attendants that the company’s uniforms were the cause of a number of health problems including breathing difficulties, headaches and rashes.
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