Delta’s fancy new uniforms just aren’t flying for hundreds of employees, who claim in a new lawsuit the “toxic” duds are causing a gamut of health complications and “severe emotional distress”.
The workers, ranging from flight attendants to maintenance employees, say they’re being sickened by their newly issued uniforms, made by clothing firm Lands’ End, that contain “excessive allergen and sensitising properties,” reports the New York Post.
“These uniforms are high stretch, wrinkle and stain-resistant, waterproof, antistatic, and deodorising,” says the suit, filed in Wisconsin federal court on Tuesday. “Lands’ End used various chemical additives and finishes to achieve these characteristics.”
Among the health complications listed are severe respiratory distress, tightness of the chest, breathing difficulties, itchy skin, rashes, boils, hives and bruising.
The plaintiffs, who are seeking class-action status, also claim they’ve suffered from hair loss, migraines, fatigue, swollen lymph nodes, anaphylactic-type symptoms and auto-immune conditions.
“These health problems were caused by the uniforms and continue to this day,” the suit says.
The new uniforms were rolled out to Delta employees on May 29, 2018 and are worn by about 64,000 workers – including 24,000 flight attendants, the complaint says.
Flight attendants with Alaska Airlines and American Airlines experienced similar issues with the Lands’ End attire, which the Delta plaintiffs say the Wisconsin-based clothing company should’ve been “aware of”.
Dozens of Delta workers complained about the allegedly dangerous duds, prompting the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health to issue a health hazard evaluation report in June recommending that the airline offer alternatives.
“It is possible that textile chemicals in the uniforms or the physical irritant properties of the uniform fabrics have caused skin symptoms among Delta employees,” the NIOSH report said, according to the lawsuit.
The workers are suing Lands’ End for negligence, strict design defect, failure to warn and other claims and calling on the company to recall the uniforms.
A Delta spokeswoman said the airline “invested in a rigorous toxicology study to determine if there was a universal scientific issue with the uniform”.
“The results of the study confirm our uniforms meet the highest textile standards – OEKO-TEX – with the exception of the optional flight attendant apron, which we removed from the collection,” she said.
This article originally appeared on the NY Post and was reproduced with permission