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United Agrees to Pay $33 Million, Rehire Workers

July 11, 1986|United Press International

CHICAGO — United Airlines has agreed to pay nearly $33 million in back pay to more than 1,500 current and former employees and rehire 475 flight attendants to end a 20-year legal battle over a no-marriage work rule, it was announced Thursday.

U.S. District Judge James Moran is expected to make a preliminary ruling on the agreement July 23. However, the settlement is not expected to be final until October, said Michael Mulder, attorney for the plaintiffs.

"The settlement finally ends years of tedious litigation," Mulder said. "We're pleased with the results."

In Tune With Times

"The employment practices have long been corrected to be in tune with the times," said United spokesman Charles Novak.

The sex discrimination complaint was first filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in 1966. The EEOC complaint was followed by several class action suits.

As many as 1,721 women, now mostly married and in their mid-40s, will receive back pay awards of up to $22,000 if the settlement is approved by the judge.

Retroactive Seniority

About 400 of the 1,721 already have returned to work as a result of a previous ruling, and an additional 475 former flight attendants are expected to be rehired in the fall with seniority retroactive to the 1960s, Mulder said.

The discrimination charge stems from a United policy in the 1960s that forbade its stewardesses to marry.

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