(CBS) — A north suburban Muslim family filed a lawsuit Friday alleging discrimination against United Airlines after they were escorted off a flight from Chicago to Washington D.C.
WBBM’s Michele Fiore reports.
Attorneys said accountant Eaman Shebley, her husband Mohamad Shebley and their children were vacationing to the nation’s capital when they inquired about one of their kids using a booster seat. The airline staff then acted disrespectfully, according to a the family’s lawyer Phil Robertson.
“They were met with hostility and arbitrary and unreasonable reactions by the personnel on the plane, as well as the airline pilot,” he said.
Attorney Maaria Mozaffar said the family wants some measure of justice after being booted off the flight and will pressure the airline to accept responsibility for what happened.
“They just want the problem solved, they want this not to happen to any of their family, and they want to feel that they are equal parts of this society,” she said.
The attorneys said the Shebleys felt humiliated after the incident. The family wants compensation and policies regarding how United staff treats minority passengers to change. Even though the Shebleys lost their original flight seats, the airline eventually booked them on another flight the same day.
The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) in Chicago said it has seen at least a dozen similar lawsuits in the last year and a half. The organization points to a change in the political climate due to the Trump administration, but did not assign blame to President Trump or his staff.
United Airlines released a statement regarding the Shebley family’s alleged incident, saying “both SkyWest and United hold our employees to the highest standards of professionalism and have zero tolerance for discrimination. We have not yet been served with the suit and cannot comment further on this pending litigation.”