December 18th, 2018 Yahoo News publishes an exposé written by @MandalenaLewis on the widespread nature of sexual harassment in the airline industry, the novel proposed class action vs. WestJet, and the disturbing #MeToo claims that have been surfacing across the industry since coming forward.
July 6th, 2018 Mandalena protests at YVR airport in support of women facing sexual harassment in the airline industry with information pamphlets and a sign that read: “I was sexually assaulted by a WestJet pilot.” She was shortly after kicked out by airport authority, but came back a second time with success. Meghan McDermott of BC’s Civil Liberties said the following to the Star Vancouver,“It is BCCLA’s position that this limitation on Ms. Lewis’s expressive activity does not appear to be reasonable and frustrates the intent of her expression (to be visible to flight crew and travellers) … As we expect the VAA is well aware, it is established law that individuals have a right to freedom of expression in Canadian airports,’’
June 20th, 2018. Former AirCanada employees call out the company for unchecked sexual abuse and bullying in a piece by HuffPost. Abuse such as crew being spat on, degrading workplace graffiti, and the repetitive nature of the company firing employees who are on leave with workplace related PTSD.
June 5th, 2018. WestJet owned, Swoop Airlines launched their “Keep it in your pants” campaign for their low cost carrier with sexually inappropriate and objectifying ads. The backlash was so strong WestJet pulled the ads down, stating they were being “cheeky”.
May 16th, 2018. Ashley Geffre, former flight attendant for Alaska Airlines, is suing her company after being drugged and raped by a pilot on a layover in Fort Lauderdale. Ashley came forward to Seattle’s Kiro 7 News. May 14th, 2018. Mary Morgan, former Seattle based flight attendant for SkyWest Airlines is suing the airline after being drugged and raped by captain Robert L. Rowe during a layover in Canada. Mary came forward to CNN News.
March 29th, 2018. Air Canada is facing a human rights complaint after flight attendants were involved in a sexualized fashion show which was meant as a pass/fail uniform check. They were told their eyes were too small, their skin was too white, and to “strut their stuff”. The company’s union, CUPE, filed a sexual harassment complaint against the airline.
An anonymous British Airways flight attendant comes forward about being raped by another crew member on a layover in Singapore. The company responded by placing them in different hotels. The DailyMail broke the news on March 23rd, 2018.
Betty Pina, pilot for Alaska Airlines, was drugged and raped by captain Paul Engelien on a layover in Minneapolis. The company questioned her on why she didn’t press charges. She is now suing the airline for liability. Betty came forward to the Seattle Times on March 14th, 2018.
Hannah Rowlands, former Qantas Airlines flight attendant, was sexually assaulted by a manager in flight. On April 5th, she came forward to Australia’s The Project about being repeatedly slapped on her backside by a superior on board.
March 8th, 2018. CEO of WestJet Gregg Saretsky unexpectedly retires. Edward Simms, former CEO of Air New Zealand, replaces Saretsky before launching the company’s new low cost carrier, Swoop Airlines. Saretsky has since taken a leadership position with Wood Buffalo Economic Development Corp in Fort McMurray. WestJet and it’s Board of Directors continue to fight the proposed class of women in court. WestJet’s Board consists of: Edward Simms, Clive J. Beddoe, Hugh Bolton, Ron Brenneman, Christopher Burley, Brett Godfrey, Allan Jackson, Barry Jackson, Brad Armitage, Jacques Ménard, and three women executives – Colleen Johnston, Janice Rennie and Karen Sheriff.
On December 15th, 2017 WestJet Airlines loses their strike against the proposed class. The claim moves forward towards certification, but WestJet seeks an appeal on their strike loss – the airline argues Justice Mary Humphries was wrong to have dismissed the company’s application to strike. The company then does not make itself available for it’s own appeal for the entire year of 2018.
In 2017, WestJet Airlines fights back. The company strikes the proposed class action lawsuit in hopes it will be tossed out of the court system. WestJet alleges the systemic breach in contract claim should not be a matter before the courts, that it should/they prefer it be before a human rights tribunal, and that it is “improper”.
August 18th, 2016. WestJet Airlines fails an Ernst & Young audit on how it deals with sexual harassment complaints and it’s short coming sexual harassment policies. The company undertook the audit after mounting pressure and a petition by SumOfUs.org to have the CEO, Gregg Saretksy, removed. Over 40,000 Canadians signed the petition.
Former WestJet Airlines flight attendant, Mandalena Lewis, spoke out publicly in 2016 about being sexually assaulted by a pilot on a layover in Maui in 2010. Nothing was done after reporting to the authorities, and the company retaliated after she spoke up. A charge is still waiting for the pilot in Maui. Mandalena was later approached by other women who were drugged and raped, some by the same pilot. Other women across the airline industry have also reached out with the same claims. In April of 2016, Mandalena files a lawsuit and takes lead on a proposed class action lawsuit against WestJet for systemically breaching it’s own anti harassment contracts by failing to keep it’s female flight attendants safe.