Workers Comp for Airline Employees’ Toxic Uniforms
In 2019 you may have seen the headline stories about new Delta’s flight attendants’ uniforms being found to contain a toxic chemicals, according to lab testing conducted by the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA-CWA). Delta subsequently admitted that at least 2,000 flight attendants had made some form of complaint concerning suffering adverse side effects to the new uniforms, including extreme skin irritation.
The uniforms were created by famous fashion designer-to-the-stars Zac Posen, who had previously provided styling for Michele Obama, Oprah, Gwyneth Paltrow, and many others. In January of 2020 Delta Air Lines released a press release stating that they had plans to replace the uniforms that thousands of its employees complained were causing health problems. Around the same time Zac Posen announced that his company was going out of business.
But the story doesn’t end there…
Workers Compensation for Airline Workers Uniforms
In 2019 a flight attendant filed a workers’ compensation claim after her doctors determined that her skin, respiratory and other health problems were connected to the work uniform she had begun wearing in 2018.
The name of that case was Matter of Valdez v. Delta Airlines, Inc., and it was filed in the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of New York, Third Department, in Albany.
After considering the medical evidence and listening to testimony at a hearing, a Workers’ Compensation Law Judge issued a decision in May of 2020. He determined that the flight attendant was entitled to receive Workers Compensation for her uniform-related injuries. That court determined that the fight attendant had suffered “a work-related injury” and that she had established a valid, compensable claim for her contact dermatitis, reactive airway disease and lymphadenopathy.
Of course, Delta Airlines and their Workers Compensation insurer appealed the decision.
Workers Compensation Benefits Upheld for Airline Worker’s Uniform
Delta Airlines and their Workers Compensation insurer appealed the decision, claiming that there was no causal link between her symptoms and her medical conditions. But, the Appeals Court affirmed the lower court’s decision and upheld her right to collect workers compensation benefits for the skin and respiratory conditions related to wearing her uniform.
The Court wrote that the flight attendant had established a recognizable link between her condition and “a distinctive feature” of her employment through the submission of “competent medical evidence.”
That decision stated: “The Board credited claimant’s testimony that her symptoms worsened after she began wearing the uniform and eased somewhat when she switched to an alternate uniform on medical advice.”
Bottom line: The appeals court in New York ruled that the Delta Airlines Inc. flight attendant suffered an occupational illness related to the chemicals in her issued uniform, and therefore could collect workers compensation for her illness.
Airline Employee Workers Compensation Lawyers
If you are an airline worker who was made ill by your toxic uniform, or were otherwise injured or made ill in the workplace, we recommend that you speak with an experienced workers comp lawyer immediately. Even if you are currently receiving workers comp benefits, it is a good idea to get some legal advice to protect your rights going into the future.
An experienced workers compensation lawyer can help you identify minor issues before they become major problems – and make sure that you not only receive your benefits now, but for years to come.
Your consultation with our workers’ comp lawyers is 100% confidential, and neither your employer nor your insurance company will be notified that you requested a consultation with us. Our lawyers will help you understand your rights and work tirelessly to ensure that you receive the maximum workers’ comp benefits for which you qualify.