United flight attendants say they were unfairly fired for refusing to fly

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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – Thirteen flight attendants have filed a federal complaint against United Airlines saying they were fired for refusing to fly from San Francisco to Hong Kong on a plane with the words “BYE BYE” and a pair of faces scrawled on it.

The flight attendants filed the whistleblower complaint with the U.S. Department of Labor on Wednesday.

The drawings were traced in an oil slick on the plane’s tail cone. They included one smiling face but another that appeared to show eyes closed and a tongue sticking out.

The complaint says the flight attendants sought additional security measures and wanted the plane’s more than 300 passengers taken off the July 14 flight for a sweep.Katz, Marshall & Banks partner David J. Marshall stated that “our clients did exactly what the flying public would expect from a group of highly experienced airline professionals.” According to Mr. Marshall, “our clients are entitled to legal protection for doing what was right. United needs to be told in no uncertain terms that ordering conscientious employees, who are the eyes and ears of the public in these situations, to ignore federal law because it is more profitable for the Airline to maintain scheduled flights will not be tolerated.”

United said in a statement that safety procedures were followed and the airplane was found to be entirely safe.

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