Two Delta Airlines flight attendants have filed a proposed class action lawsuit against Lands’ End in which they allege the clothing company’s “Passport Plum” uniforms can cause “skin rashes, headaches, fatigue, breathing difficulties, hair loss, low white blood cell counts, and nausea.”
In addition, the plaintiffs in the 32-page lawsuit out of New York claim that uniforms are shoddily made in that their color can crock and bleed, which stains both the wearer and their possessions. When washed off a wearer’s skin, the uniforms’ purple dye, the case claims, can then stain the bathtub or shower, and even bleed permanently into sheets and towels.
Lands’ End’s Business Outfitters unit introduced the new Delta flight attendant uniforms in May 2018. Designed by Project Runway’s Zac Posen, the high-stretch, wrinkle- and stain-resistant, waterproof, anti-static and deodorizing uniforms are bright purple, called “Passport Plum,” and are worn by approximately 24,000 Delta flight attendants and roughly 40,000 gate agents, per the case. According to the suit, the introduction of the new uniforms was a big enough deal that Delta “encouraged its flight attendants to promote the new uniforms on their social media pages” and reportedly plans on celebrating the uniforms with a one-year anniversary party this year.
The plaintiffs say that shortly after the uniforms were released, some female Delta flight attendants started getting sick with reported “skin rashes, shortness of breath, heart palpitations and hair loss.” Citing an April 4, 2019 article fromThe Guardian, the case notes that aprivate Facebook groupused by thousands of Delta flight attendants was filled with complaints of health problems supposedly related to the new Passport Plum uniforms. Doctors cited inThe Guardianpiece believe that a chemical finish made of formaldehyde and Teflon – used on the uniforms to fight stains and improve durability – is likely the reason for the adverse health effects.
As the suit tells it, Delta flight attendants, who are non-union employees, are hesitant to complain about the problems they’ve experienced from their Lands’ End uniforms for fear of repercussions. Many flight attendants and gate agents, the suit claims, have resorted to wearing long underwear in an attempt to protect themselves from the supposedly uniform-related health risks. According to the lawsuit, Delta informed some flight attendants in March 2019 that if they sought not to wear the uniforms, they would need to request a disability job accommodation, with the option of going on short-term disability leave during which they would only be able to pull in two-thirds of their regular pay.