Air Traffic Controllers Fight Back Against Sexual Harassment

Female air traffic controllers testified about pervasive sexual harassment in the work place for the House Transportation Committee yesterday.

Several female victims and both male and female witnesses complained that the male-dominated air traffic controller field was hostile to women. They said that women who complained of the constant sexual remarks and fondling were ignored or suffered damage to their careers. One woman said she’d been consistently harassed since 1982. Another woman said she’d received several sexual letters at work from a “secret admirer.” A male supervisor witnessed another male supervisor unbutton a female controller’s shirt, saying “Let’s see what’s in there.” He told her that her career would be over if she reacted.

The new head of the Federal Aviation Administration, Jane Garvey, reiterated the FAA’s commitment to eradicate sexual harassment. Citing FAA inaction and years of broken promises, Michael McNally, president of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, said “To say we do not trust the FAA on this issue is an understatement. Several of the employees are filing a class-action lawsuit against the FAA that claims sexual harassment and discrimination is rampant in FAA facilities.”


AP - October 23, 1997

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