United Airlines Loses Bias Lawsuit

A former United Airlines ramp supervisor who claimed she was fired because of her gender has been awarded $55,000 by a federal jury in civil rights lawsuit.

Mina Lundien lost her job in 1997 for a safety violation involving the shipping of a box of shotgun shells for the U.S. Olympic team. Lundien had contended that a man in her position would not have been fired. A federal jury in Denver agreed after a five-day trial ended Friday.

"We were able to show conclusively that it was not a violation at the time," said her attorney, Jack Olsen.

During last week's trial before U.S. District Judge Walker Miller, witnesses cited a variety of safety violations by male ramp workers, who load baggage and fuel airplanes.

None of those violations resulted in firings and some of the men were not disciplined, witnesses said.

Lundien, who had worked at United for six years, was one of three women out of a total group of 36 ramp supervisors.

The jury awarded Lundien $27,500 for emotional damages and $27,500 in punitive damages.

Miller has yet to schedule a hearing to determine back pay and loss of benefits owed to Lundien during the four years since she was fired.

Lundien must also decide if she wants her old job back.