Three plaintiffs have filed a proposed class action lawsuit against American Airlines in which they claim the company asked certain employees to submit to mandatory blood testing as a condition of continued employment. The lawsuit argues the alleged blood testing amounts to an unwarranted medical inquiry and an unlawful request for genetic information.
The complaint explains the plaintiffs are long-time employees at an American Airlines maintenance facility—Shop 205-1—in Tulsa, Oklahoma. On January 6, 2016, the plaintiffs were reportedly informed via email that all employees subject to the defendant’s medical surveillance program were required to submit to heavy metal exposure testing to continue their employment. Refusing to submit to testing would be considered insubordination and could possibly result in disciplinary action, the lawsuit says.
The plaintiffs’ union, the Transport Workers Union 514, initially objected to the testing, according to the case. In April 2016, however, the plaintiffs were reportedly told employees at Shop 205-1 were under an Occupations Safety and Health Act (OSHA) mandate to submit to blood testing.
One of the named plaintiffs claims he, after refusing to give blood, was “immediately taken out of service” by American Airlines’ human resources personnel. Twenty-four hours later, the case goes on, that named plaintiff was given a choice: either submit to the blood testing or “turn over his badge.”
The results of the blood testing were available in September 2016, the lawsuit continues, with some of the plaintiffs supposedly given “false clean bills of health” and others given no results at all. In the end, the blood testing may have been for naught, the case explains, as an American Airlines OSHA agent reportedly admitted in January 2017 that the plaintiffs' shop “was never an above action level shop and, therefore, was not an OSHA-regulated shop.”
Since their facility is reportedly not one in which respiratory equipment is mandated, the plaintiffs allege American Airlines’ blood testing constitutes a medical inquiry not permitted under the Americans with Disabilities Act, nor Title II of the Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act of 2008.