United Airlines fired a color-blind pilot who couldn’t fly. Now the pilot is suing.
A United Airlines pilot hired in April 2022 was fired after less than two months at the airline “because he was struggling.”[s] to distinguish different colors during a night flight.” The pilot is suing.
- He had just qualified for long-term disability and filed a lawsuit.
- The airline says his condition meant he was not eligible to be hired in the first place.
The pilot was unable to fly less than a month after he was hired. It “couldn’t tell the colors of taxiway signals” and couldn’t fly at night. However, he claims there is “no evidence” that he had the condition when he was hired. could have developed it in the following weeks.
The good news is that no one argues that he should not fly. The question is, should United be held responsible for his disability claim?
I lived in California as a teenager and my family was in the car business there. The mechanic at their repair shop cheated on his wife and contracted an STD. However, he denied the affair, claiming he was bitten by a spider that was under the hood of the car he was working on.
He was completely involved in the story. His wife felt that if he got injured on the job, he should file a work comp. It didn’t matter, STDs don’t work that way. They are not called venereal for nothing. He needed to sell it, which meant filing a (false) lawsuit in California. And he understood. The state government helped save his marriage. In this case, my family’s workers’ compensation coverage was tainted by a claim that shouldn’t have been.
Another common problem in California was hiring workers who were immediately injured on the job. The record holder was one employee who cut his finger in the first 10 minutes of work while changing the oil filter on his car. It usually took at least several hours for an intentional work injury. The goal was to get a job to file a claim.
I’m not saying that the pilot was trying to hire a commercial airline to apply for disability. A fact-based investigation will be conducted into the likelihood that a pilot’s health problem may have developed after recruitment and whether this matters, for example, whether it is possible that the pilot did not know at the time of recruitment whether he was medically unsuitable for his position.
I am sharing this story because airlines are a microcosm of society and have to deal with problems that go far beyond just getting planes from one place to another. Sometimes the question of who is responsible for the costs depends on timing and (good or bad) luck.