Two Delta Air Lines flight attendants are taking the carrier to court over allegations that their Zac Posen-designed, Lands’ End-produced uniforms are causing a slew of medical issues including rashes, headaches, fatigue and more.
On May 22, plaintiffs Gwyneth Gilbert and Monica DeCrescentis filed suit in the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of New York against Lands’ End, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports, taking issue with their employer’s new “Passport Plum” uniforms. The suit contends negligence, design defect, manufacturing defect and failure to warn, among other claims.
One year ago, the Atlanta-based carrier issued new uniforms for its 64,000 employees working in its airplanes, airports and hangars all over the world, to the reported tune of $20 million.
Notably, the suite of functional, high-performing attire features “ripstop, high-stretch, wrinkle-and-stain-resistant, water repellant and waterproof, deodorizing, windproof, anti-static and moisture-wicking properties” fabrics and materials in some of the designs, according to a press release - which Gilbert and DeCrescentis argue today may be to blame for their ailments.
According to the Journal-Constitution, Gilbert claims that she suffered “rashes and skin irritations” from wearing a mock turtleneck, pants and a blouse issued by her employer earlier this year.
Upon request, Lands' End gave her another shirt that was “allegedly ‘untreated’” but still made her skin “feel as though she had experienced a burn,” – as the airline uniforms are reportedly treated for anti-wrinkle and stain-release chemicals.
Now, the woman is allowed to wear a black pantsuit and white blouse while on duty, which have not yet appeared to cause any physical reactions.
DeCrescentis, meanwhile, allegedly experienced “skin reactions, headaches and a low white cell blood count” through the last year of wearing the work uniform. She also claims the uniform’s dye has transferred onto her body, sheets and towels.
DeCrescentis is still wearing the uniform for work, as per court documents.
When contacted for comment, reps for Delta told Fox News that the company does not comment on pending litigation, and offered the following statement:
“Safety comes first in everything we do and the uniform program was no exception. Since we began redesigning the uniform three years ago, we have been intentional to ensure employee input and transparency every step of the way,” a spokesperson said. “We want our employees to be able to safely wear the new garments with pride.”
“To reinforce this commitment, Delta actively sought out employee input and conducted wear testing, allergen testing and dye testing. Although Delta and Lands’ End conducted in-depth testing during every step of development, a small number of employees have reported skin irritations,” they continued. “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.”
Moving forward, the airline is mandating that employees get a doctor’s verification of any allergies and try wearing alternative materials on the job – such as cotton, non-wool and lined pieces – before they will be approved to wear black and white clothing of their choice by the carrier, as per the outlet.
In addition, the airline will reportedly soon unveil a new “untreated” uniform choice in June, which will also require medical documentation to sport.
Earlier this month, the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health began an investigation for a Health Hazard Evaluation of the Delta uniforms, fulfilling a request filed in March by the International Association of Machinists union to investigate the uniform complaints.
Just a few weeks after the release of the new uniforms last year, Delta received 25 complaints from staffers of chafing and other problems with the new designs, CNBC reports.
The carrier is not named as a defendant in the lawsuit.
Reps for Lands’ End told Fox News that they do no comment on pending litigation, while a spokesperson for Zac Posen did not immediately return Fox News’ request for comment.