Woman says American Airlines employee got her number from luggage, harassed her
A woman says an American Airlines employee got her number from a luggage tag and started harassing her, according to a lawsuit filed against the company last week.
Ashley Barno is suing the airline and the former employee for negligent hiring, sexual harassment and stalking, according to the suit obtained by The Washington Post. Barno allegedly started receiving texts from the employee in April as she was at San Diego International Airport preparing for a flight to Chicago.
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The employee, who later identified himself as “Ahmad” in the messages, texted her hello, asked how she was doing and called her “gorgeous” in her “grey top.” He then revealed he was an American Airlines employee operating her flight, according to text messages obtained by the Post.
He admitted to getting her number from her baggage tags when she pressed him and while on the flight, continuously asked her to sit next to him so they could “chat the whole flight.” When Barno messaged him to “Leave me alone,” he responded by saying, “Friendship with me will be very beneficial for you!!”
Barno reportedly informed a flight attendant, who said it wasn’t “the first time he’s done something like this.” Once they landed in Chicago, the man was escorted by security off the plane, Barno’s attorney Joseph Samo said.
He reportedly continued to contact her for “a long period of time,” including with “sexually-suggestive images,” according to the suit.
Barno had tried to ensure American Airlines disciplined the employee, but the company wasn’t responsive, Samo said. The lawsuit alleges that American Airlines “did not do a sufficient job in hiring and supervising employees to keep its customers safe from sexual harassment and stalking.”
The airline said in a statement that the employee was not on duty at the time of the incident and is no longer employed at American Airlines.
“American Airlines takes the privacy and safety of our customers seriously,” the airline said in a statement. “We investigated the allegations and took appropriate action.”