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Discrimanation or not?

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Well-known member
Dec 1, 2001
I had a thought about the situation where companys
will not hire someone who is furloughed.

According to UAL management, furloughees are not employees.
(Their reason why furloughees can't have travel benefits)
So the way I see it, I'm no longer a UAL employee, the only thing I have is my name on a list and promise to hire me again when they need more pilots. In other words I'm in the same situation I was one year ago. I'm in a hiring pool.

So, when I was sitting in the pool for 7 months last year, I would have had no problem being hired by another airline. In fact I know several people who were in the pool and hired by another airline and then resigned when UAL called with a class date. None of the airlines seem to have a problem with this.
Also consider that many companys ask you in the interview if you have had any other offers. If you say yes, they don't kick you out of the room.

So why is it different because now I am called a furloughee?

The companys say the reason they don't hire furloughees is because they will leave as soon as they are called back.
Well is it any different with the 95% of their current pilots that are waiting for a call from a major. Every one of them would leave tomorrow if their favorite major called. If their big concern is pilots leaving, they could simply have new hires sign a commitment contract. Some companys already do this. I am perfectly willing to do this, but by denying me an interview when i'm qualified for the job,
I say it is hiring discrimination pure and simple.

I am more than qualified for a job at any regional, but
yet none will even give me an interview because I'm a furloughee. This is a clear case of discrimination under federal law.

Maybe I should call Jonnie Cockren and tell him I know where
he can get a few thousand clients for a class action law suit.
There's a difference between being in a pool and being furloughed, so your analogy is flawed. If you're in a pool and accept new employment, your status as a poolee is only potential and not part of your employment record. As a furloughee, you're a past employee (a verifiable fact), and far more likely to be recalled, and it's far more likely you'll accept the recall. In that case, the company which hires you loses their investment in you when you dump them to go back to your old job. In other words, you're a poor risk. There's always some small percentage of pilots hired who are in the pool at another company, and that's a risk of doing business. But if the risk is known, then it can be avoided. You're being avoided.

You don't seem to realize that nobody owes you a job, and that discrimination is not only legal, it's utterly necessary. Discrimination means exercising a choice. You are wailing about the unfairness of it all, but perceived unfairness isn't a basis for a lawsuit. Only illegal discrimination, as defined by federal or local law, is a basis for a lawsuit. I'm afraid that being furloughed doesn't put you in a protected class under the law. I am truly sorry that you're out of a job for the moment. However, it sounds to me that these companies that are turning you down are doing themselves a favor by not even interviewing you. If you're this militant when merely applying for a job, I shudder to see what'll happen when you meet adversity on the job. Get over it, and find a job the way the rest of us had to the last time this happened: scrounge for it. You're "more than qualified" so it should be no problem, right?
I think the basic premise of the origional post is flawed. The posting asks why it is acceptable to bail out on a company before being furloughed, but not afterward.

It's not acceptable to bail out, period. If you commit to an employer, are taken into the employer's confidence, accept the training, and go on the line, then show some backbone and integrity and do your job. Do you think that employers are babysitters there for your convenience? Do you have any idea what this does to the industry at large?

On several occasions I've been approached by companies with an offer of employment. Each offer provided more income, more security, better benifits, and in many cases, some very nice equipment. In addition, better hours and schedules were also available. However, on each occasion, I informed these companies that I couldn't simply drop everything and walk away from my employer. If a replacement could be found and put in my position, and suitable notice given, fine. However, one doesn't simply jump overboard when greener grass comes along. Such a person shows no spine.

There is no discrimination in hesitating to hire an individual who will most likely jump ship. Loyalty is a desirable characteristic. I don't care if you were furloughed, or if you're in a "pool" and will go elsewhere. It's the same. Unless you're willing to commit your loyalty, time, and services to me, I certainly wouldn't hire you. Pilots are nomads and gypsies and drift with the tide; it's in our blood to some mythical degree. But character and honor still count for something in my book. Character is who you are when the lights are out and you're on your own, and nobody will see what you do. If those unseen actions and impulses include the tendency to do as you've posted, feel no animosity toward those who would pass you over in favor of a prospect who shows enough backbone and character to stick it out. They're within their discretion.

Remember; what goes around, comes around. You have no hesitation taking a job knowing you won't commit, that you'll walk away. You don't care enough about that employer to commit...but strangely you feel that the employer owes you something; they should commit to you. It's a two way street, friend. Drive it carefully, or pay the consequences. But while you do so, don't cry discrimination or foul; you make the rules, you drive by them. Good luck to you!
hog, your basic premise is flawed. Discrimination is perfectly legal in most circumstances and is practiced by every employer on the face of the earth. However, discrimination that pertains to race, religion, gender, age, etc. is illegal unless there is a valid purpose for the discrimination. (For example, it's perfectly acceptable for airlines to discriminate against pilots over age 60, and for movie producers to refuse to consider males for female movie roles.) But, furloughed airline pilots are not a protected class under discrimination laws in the U.S.
The companys say the reason they don't hire furloughees is because they will leave as soon as they are called back.

Hog, although I do understand the previous posters' views, I can also understand your concern in the current hiring enviroment. The bottom line is that there are very few companies that have enough confidence in their product, work conditions and employee force that aren't worried that you won't leave when you find "something better." I guess I would be asking why there is something better out there and why they can't fix their own backyard to keep employees when times are good? Large airlines have very small voluntary employee turnover issues when it comes to pilots. With smaller outfits, it appears that they want you to make all sorts of changes, sacrifices and adjustments, but they sure aren't willing to do the same...and they can afford to do this in tough times. The bar for working conditions, lifestyle, and "nicities" is lowered significantly in poor times. In my opinion, this speaks volumes about the company and how "good" they really are once you start working for them. Of course no company can be perfect to everyone and everything...just look at your previous employer. Even at the top, some would certainly view Alaska Airlines as far superior to maybe Delta. However, there is a company that does have the where with all (one word or three?) to display this level of confidence in what they offer. Southwest, as I understand, does not make you resign any seniority numbers. They believe that if you're hired, you'll like it, and enjoy the atmosphere enough that you won't want to leave. Of course you usually come with your own type-rating, but they still put plenty of money into you. I guess when you're at the top of the industry, you don't worry about people wanting to leave. It's all about confidence in their product and their view on employees being and asset rather than a cost sucking liability. Unfortunately, the many long established companies at the "top" of the airline industry aren't hiring, with the exception of Southwest. If you decide to leave them, they view it as money saved rather than money spent. It's a great perspective and one that few companies have the fortune of sharing, and only the best can share it. Food for thought. Certainly hope that you can make the best of the situation and keep up a good attitude. Best of luck. P.S. As most of the other posters already alluded too...I'd forget about any lawsuit issues. This isn't about discrimination, it's about a free market economy.
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On top of the world a year ago, now on the bottom, either way I could care less, but PLEASE stop crying like a bay!! Is that what they teach you at United, cry then sue if you don't get your way?
More then qualified? What is that? Maybe you should paste Space Shuttle under your aircraft flown.

Just be glad to have the chance to go back, as the rest of us scrape up all hope of ever having that job.

I hate crybaby's
More then qualified
We all know that United are well known to hire "More then qualified" pilots...
Couple observations from reading these posts:

First of all, I don't believe the new companies will "discriminate" so much in interviewing furloughees of other companies, just hiring them. Usually, the fact that you are a furloughee wouldn't come up until the interview anyway. And when you turn in your letter of resignation to your former company, then you are no longer a furloughee, but a former employee. That is why most employers will require that action to protect their interest.

I am absolutely opposed to committment contracts. It equals indentured servitude it what it amounts to. The company has a responsibility to train its perspective employees and if it is an attractive package for an employee, there will be less of a turnover rate.... period. This concept of whoring yourself away to an airline has got to stop if we are to preserve our profession. Just because you are willing to do it for less than the next guy, does not mean you are helping your situation out. The long term impact of what this does to you in your profession is far more **CENSORED****CENSORED****CENSORED****CENSORED**ing.

A lot of us tend to hold the idea that the airline we work for is "the bread and butter", while the airline views us as "numbers". You may have a great deal of loyalty to your company, which is fine. As long as you realize that the collective group of the company will never hold as much loyalty to you, you'll be ok. At the end of every two weeks when you get your check, and they have their services rendered, call it even! You don't owe them a thing, just like they don't owe you a thing. It's business! Do a good job, take pride in your work, and don't expect anymore from the job than you knew when you signed up and you'll be ok. Run your professional career like you would a business. If another company is offering you an opportunity that would be better for your situation, I strongly suggest that you don't pass it up on the basis of courtesy to your present employer. If your current employer is not set up to better your situation, to equal your new value on the market, then they are continuing to get your services at a bargain.

Good luck all, and fly safe.

I am fortunate enough to be getting called by to my position Jan14 after a Dec01 furlough. Godspeed to all the other furloughees out there on your quick return as well
Chill out

First of all, some of you need to chill out.
My post was not whining but just some food for thought to start a discussion. I guess it worked.

To clarify a few points:

The idea of discrimination came from a lawyer friend of mine. I was telling him about my current situation. He said , why don't you just get a job with one of the regionals that is hiring. I told him they will not hire furloughed pilots. He said that is discrimination under federal labor law. The case is clear, if an employer has posted a job offering they must make it available to any individual that is qualified and interested. Now I know in the real world an employer can interview you and then give any reason he wants for not hiring you. But when one says "we do not hire furloughees", and they won't give you an interview,that is a violation of the law.

As for the point about a furloughee being a high risk, I say why is a furloughee any higher risk to leave than some other new hire? 90% of the pilots at a regional would leave tomorrow if a major offered them a job. (To clarify, I'm speaking of a pilot at a major who is applying at a regional. ) The situation is no different than before 9/11 when hiring at the majors was hot. At my company the attrition rate was 30 per month. (think about it, that's one pilot leaving every day!) The CEO was complaining about high turnover and training cost, so he put a training contract in place for all new hires and anyone upgrading. If you left before a year you owed the company money to cover what they spent on training you. A lot of poeple complained about it. Personnally I thought it was fair. I signed 2 contracts, one as a new hire and one on upgrade. So if the companys that are hiring are worried about furloughees leaving, just have them sign a contract to commit to a year or two.

To the point about giving a letter of resignation.
How do you resign from a company that you are no longer employed by?
Furlough is just a fancy word for laid-off. The only difference between a furloughee and the poor guy in catering that got laid-off is the furloughee has his/her name on a pilot seniority list.
The airlines could care less about seniority. The seniority lists were created by the unions. The contract is what gives the furloughee the right to be called back first when hiring is resumed.

My basic point is simple. If for example Skywest is hiring, what valid reason to they have for not hiring someone who is furloughed and is willing to give them a year or two commitment.?

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