Two Delta flight attendants have initiated a class-action lawsuit against Land’s End, claiming their uniforms cause fatigue, headaches, and skin rashes.
Gate agents and flight attendants are required to wear “Passport Plum” uniforms similar to the ones pictured above. These Zac Posen-designed uniforms produced by Land’s End debuted in May 2018.
Gwyneth Gilbert, one of the flight attendants who initiated the lawsuit, claims she “experienced rashes and skin irritations” as a result of wearing the new uniform. When she complained, she was sent a replacement set and experienced the same issue. A dermatologist later determined she is allergic to “dyes and formaldehyde” in the uniform.
Gilbert is back at work wearing “a black pantsuit and white blouse” and has not experienced any further issues.
Monica DeCrescentis, a New York-based flight attendant, blames the uniforms for a low white blood cell count. She also complains of fatigue and headaches and notes that the dye from the uniforms permeated her skin, undergarments, towels, and bedding.
Delta is not a party to the lawsuit. It did issue the following statement in response to the lawsuit:
We want our employees to be able to safely wear the new garments with pride. Although Delta and Lands’ End conducted in-depth testing during every step of development, a small number of employees have reported skin irritations. While less than one percent of employees in the new uniform program have reported issues, Delta takes this very seriously and is working directly with employees on solutions that meet their individual needs.
Land’s End and Zac Posen offered no comments.
While certainly an isolated problem, it is indeed an issue. And this issue has greater ramifications than going after Land’s End. The lawsuit notes:
As Delta flight attendants are non-union, at-will employees, many are reluctant to complain about the problems with their uniforms and suffer in silence, and other flight attendants wear undergarments or long underwear to protect themselves from new uniforms…
You can imagine that some have seized upon that as a new front in the war to unionize Delta flight attendants and ground staff.
Delta plans to release “untreated” uniforms, which lack anti-wrinkle chemicals, later this year. Those will require medical documentation.