United Airlines Sued by NFL Player Alleging Sexual Harassment by Passenger

An unnamed player accuses United Airlines of breach of duty in failing to protect passengers from sexual harassment.

An unnamed NFL player filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles County Superior Court on Monday, alleging that United Airlines  (UAL) - Get Report failed to properly respond to complaints of sexual harassment on a recent flight. 

The lawsuit alleges the player was sexually harassed and assaulted by a female passenger on a February United Airlines flight from Los Angeles to Newark, New Jersey, and that United Airlines failed to enact adequate procedures to prevent the harassment.

According to the lawsuit, the woman was seated in the same row as the NFL player and engaged in escalating forms of harassment before ultimately being moved to a different seat, after repeated complaints by the player and other passengers. 

The lawsuit accuses United Airlines of breach of duty in failing to have or enforce procedures against the harassment described and is seeking unspecified statutory and punitive damages from the airline.

United Airlines shares have fallen 75% year to date amid a plunge in demand for travel due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

In April, the company’s gross bookings dropped more than 95% from a year ago, with customer cancellation rates reaching record highs, United said in a recent filing. 

United Airlines expects its scheduled capacity to fall 75% in July compared to 2019. Scheduled capacity for May and June 2020 was reduced by approximately 90% from 2019 levels.

“The company plans to continue to proactively evaluate and cancel flights on a rolling 60-day basis until it sees signs of a recovery in demand,” United said in a recent filing.