A seattle federal court has refused to reinstate an Alaska Airlines flight attendant who was wrongly dismissed after a vengeful former partner...
A Seattle federal court has refused to reinstate an Alaska Airlines flight attendant who was wrongly dismissed after a vengeful former partner got him fired, claiming he received health benefits after their breakup.
Rob McGinty received news his case had been thrown out Tuesday. He now lives in Palm Springs, Calif., where he manages a custom-furniture showroom. “I still know in my heart I did nothing wrong,” said McGinty, who said he plans to appeal the decision.
McGinty’s hopes of winning his job back rose after an arbitrator last year ruled he had been wrongly fired and ordered Alaska Airlines to pay him $36,600 in lost wages. But after exonerating McGinty, the arbitrator denied his reinstatement, saying his post-termination conduct was “questionable” and that relations with his employer had been irreparably damaged.
The Oct. 26 ruling by U.S. District Judge Ricardo Martinez effectively allows the arbitrator’s decision to stand.
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Ed Gilmartin, an attorney for the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, which took up McGinty’s case, said the union has 30 days to file an appeal.
Gay-rights groups had been watching McGinty’s case closely because it exposed an inconsistency in corporate-benefit policies, which impose tougher eligibility standards for domestic partners than for married employees. Had McGinty, a 22-year airline veteran, been married, he probably would still be working for Alaska Airlines today.
McGinty was fired Aug. 13, 2003, after his former partner, Crisstopher Hill, submitted evidence to Alaska, which he later admitted was forged, showing he received medical treatment eight months after their April 2002 breakup, in violation of the company’s health plan.
Had the two been a married couple, and merely separated, benefits would have accrued until the two were officially divorced.
Mark Busto, the lawyer representing Alaska Airlines in the case, said an appeal was unlikely to succeed given the court’s reluctance to interfere with an arbitration agreed to by both parties.
Josh Goodman: 206-464-3347 or firstname.lastname@example.org