A bevy of Delta Airlines employees allege in a class action that uniforms made by defendants Lands’ End, Inc. and Lands’ End Outfitters are to blame for health problems that range from respiratory and skin issues to migraines, nose bleeds and auto-immune conditions. The allegations in the suit ring similar to those made in May 2019 by two Delta flight attendants who claimed Lands’ End’s “Passport Plum” uniforms were the cause of numerous adverse health effects among airline employees.
“The uniforms are defective and unreasonably dangerous to [the] Plaintiffs,” the suit claims.
Since May 29, 2018, thousands of Delta employees—including flight attendants, customer service representatives, Sky Club workers, and maintenance and TechOps personnel—have been required to wear Lands’ End-made uniforms billed as “high stretch, wrinkle and stain-resistant, waterproof, anti-static and deodorizing,” the lawsuit begins. Such characteristics, the case says, are given to the uniforms by “various chemical additives and finishes” that the plaintiffs allege have “an allergic and sensitizing effect” on the human body, leading to a slew of health problems.
According to the lawsuit, Delta employees, since the introduction of Lands’ End’s uniforms, have suffered from:
“Severe respiratory distress,” including breathing troubles, coughing and chest tightness;
Skin maladies, including contact dermatitis, rashes, hives, eczema, hair loss and bruising;
Eye, ear, nose and throat troubles, such as blurred vision, nose bleeds, and sinus issues; and
Migraines, fatigue, muscle weakness, anxiety, anaphylactic-type symptoms and auto-immune conditions.
The suit claims Delta employees who have experienced reactions to Lands’ End’s uniforms exhibited no such symptoms prior to the rollout of the new workwear. The case provides that since the launch of the uniforms, “1,900 of [Delta’s] 64,000 employees reported some type of concern” with the apparel. As the lawsuit tells it, however, the number of Delta employees who have experienced adverse symptoms is “significantly higher” given many proposed class members have not shared their experiences with the company.
The lawsuit stresses that the health troubles supposedly linked to Lands’ End’s uniforms have had a material impact on the airline’s business, resulting in “a substantial increase in absences and grounding” of Delta employees. Some proposed class members have experienced symptoms serious enough to be forced to leave flights mid-trip, the case says, while others have called for emergency medical care abroad.
Lastly, the lawsuit says the plaintiffs, through their own preliminary investigation of Lands’ End uniform samples, found the presence of chemicals and heavy metals “far in excess of industry-accepted safe levels for garments." According to the suit, the plaintiffs found Lands’ End uniforms to contain chromium, mercury, formaldehyde, fluorine, bromine and antimony, substances “known to cause significant reactions.”
The lawsuit seeks for the plaintiffs damages related to “personal injuries, pain and suffering, severe emotional distress, financial or economic loss, including, medical services and expenses, lost income and other compensable injuries,” and an injunction requiring Lands’ End to recall the uniforms.