A former employee represented by Teker Torres & Teker P.C. filed a suit against Hyannis Air Service Inc. which does business as Cape Air; for employment discrimination and is seeking more than $2 million in lost wages and punitive damages.
According to court documents Tiffany Anne Nicholson a former captain and first officer with Hyannis; alleged that she was "Discriminated against in ways that deprive and tend to deprive her of equal employment opportunities and otherwise adversely affected her status as an employee because she is female."
The complaint filed on Sept. 28 at the District Court of Guam stated that in June of 2000 she was employed by Hyannis and earned a transport pilot’s certificate from the Federal Aviation Authority. In June 2004 she was transferred to Guam by Hyannis and began working as a captain and first officer in an all-male environment. After completing her training she was rated as a good captain with strong crew resource management skills. She alleged that she was not always paid a captain’s wage when she flew as a first officer contrary to how other male pilots were treated and what she was promised on taking the job.
She also alleged that Hyannis illegally harassed her and "falsely accused her of unsafe flying skills and insubordination because of her sex" and that the harassment and accusations were designed "to discredit plaintiff’s competence as a pilot and terminate her employment with defendant."
Nicholson claimed that she was not given any additional training to improve her skills and maintain her job as was given other pilots who had problems in the field with the operation of the aircraft or fulfillment of their duties.
Court documents stated that on or about Sept. 10 2005 Nicholson was summoned to Hyannis’ home office in Massachusetts to address the charges against her. She alleged that Hyannis failed to adequately investigate the veracity of the claims and claimants or allow her to refute the charges.
In the complaint Nicholson alleged that she sought a formal review under Hyannis’ handbook employment guidelines regarding her continued employment but the review was "perfunctory and in violation of its own company policies."
Nicholson is seeking to be reinstated in an employment position comparable to the one she held prior to her discharge and at the same salary but under a different supervisor; compensation for back wages at a captain’s rate of pay from the date of her discharge together with general damages in the amount of $500 000; punitive damages in the amount of $1.5 million; attorney’s fees; that the court award her costs and disbursements; and grant her other relief.
In its response to the complaint filed Nov. 2 2006 Hyannis represented by Carlsmith Ball LLP admitted to making additional training available to all pilots who encountered difficulty in complying with its standards in order for them to maintain their job.
Hyannis claimed that any and all adverse actions taken against Nicholson were done without regard to her gender and for non-discriminatory reasons; its conduct was legal in all respects; and that its actions and decisions were made in good faith and based on legitimate business reasons.
The Hyannis response stated that some or all of the claims for damages are barred because Nicholson failed to timely or properly exhaust her administrative remedies under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and that some or all of the claims for damages are barred in that Nicholson’s exclusive remedy is statutory under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and there is no common lay remedy or other statutory remedy available to her.
Hyannis asked the court to dismiss the complaint with prejudice; that it be awarded its attorneys’ fees and costs; and for further relief as the court deems just and proper.
A scheduling conference for the case was due to be held Jan. 17. MBJ