Many employees receive benefits or discounts at their place of work. Although there are normally restrictions to these benefits, New York companies may approve alternative uses. A former worker for United Airlines claims that the air carrier did just that with his employee benefit, but later used that exception as a basis for retaliation.
United Airlines gives employees a friends and family travel benefit. Although this benefit is typically limited to family members and friends that workers directly know, the carrier made an exception in 2015. The former employee requested that Paul Wall — a well-known rapper — be added to his list, so that he could utilize the benefit when traveling for his charity work. United approved the request.
In July 2017, Wall was traveling with United on a ticket he had purchased himself. He later posted a negative tweet regarding his experience with a cancelled flight, and United reacted by firing the employee who had added Wall to his benefits list. United claims it fired the worker because Wall used the benefit when traveling for business, but both the worker and Wall dispute that claim. They cite the point that despite flying with United dozens upon dozens of times since he was added to the list, Wall only utilized the benefit 56 times, all of which were for charity.
The former worker’s retaliation suit claims that United fired him because of the negative light that Wall’s tweet cast on the company. If successfully pursued to completion, he may recover compensation related to his damages, which may include lost wages and emotional pain and suffering. New York workers who have been unfairly retaliated against may make similar claims against their employers, both current and former.
Source: abc13.com, “Man claims United fired him in retaliation for rapper Paul Wall’s critical tweet“, Jan. 13, 2018