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London Tribunal Rules Vs. United

September 10, 1999

CHICAGO (AP) _ An employment tribunal in London ruled Thursday that United Airlines must pay back wages to flight attendants suspended without pay because they were pregnant.

The ruling applies only to employees who fly out of London’s Heathrow Airport. The Association of Flight Attendants argued that those workers are covered by a 1996 British employment law.

That law requires an employer to determine if a job poses health risks. If so, employers are required to find employees alternative work at an equivalent rate of pay or place them on full paid leave.

``United can’t thumb its nose at British law. It has to obey the law like every other company operating in the UK,″ said Kevin Creighan, president of the Association of Flight Attendants. ``The judge’s decision is a victory for flight attendants and working women in the UK.″

It wasn’t clear how much the back wages would total.

United officials say they are studying the tribunal’s findings and may appeal.

``We’re a U.S. company,″ said United spokesman Andy Plews. ``Our routes fly to the U.S. _ we train in U.S. and will work under terms of the U.S. contract and under scope of the contract we signed with the AFA.″

About 900 United flight attendants fly out of Heathrow Airport.

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