Tamika Mallory, co-founder of the Womens March, was headed to Al Sharpton’s daughter’s wedding on American Airlines. She apparently had her seat changed on her by a gate agent and reportedly responded by “screeming f-bombs at the staff in front of kids’. She wasn’t permitted to fly, and took to social media to decry American Airlines racism.
The NAACP followed up by issuing a ‘travel advisory’ regarding American Airlines about a week later.
Credit: American Airlines
American quite correctly didn’t correct the record on the specific details of the incidents that NAACP cited, even where the details were completely false. American had nothing to win. Instead they embraced the challenge ‘to get better’ and pledged to meet with the NAACP.
That meeting has now happened (and included Ms. Mallory) and the airline says they’ve agreed to take four steps, all pretty anodyne stuff.
- Conduct a Diversity and Inclusion Gap Analysis: An independent firm will conduct a top-to-bottom review of American’s human resources and business policies related to diversity and inclusion, including hiring, training, career development, customer complaint resolution, team member experience, and supplier selection. The 9-month process, which will begin in early 2018, will assess American’s current practices compared to industry best, and provide recommendations to improve where gaps exist.
- Implement Company-Wide Implicit Bias Training: Beginning in January 2018, American will build on existing anti-discrimination training and implement annual implicit bias and training for each of its 120,000 team members. We will develop the training with an outside consultant who specializes in implicit bias awareness. In addition, we are working to refresh our conflict resolution training and education around our anti-discrimination policies.
- Overhaul Our Customer Discrimination Claims Process: American serves nearly 200 million customers every year. Every customer complaint received is investigated and responded to, but we can do more for people who feel they have experienced discrimination. We will create a new customer resolution team that will specialize in these complaints. This centralized focus will improve response, visibility and coordination across the company. All customers with a discrimination claim will be called by a specialist within 48 hours of filing their complaint, and an expedited investigation process will be initiated. As this team develops, case managers will track data and analyze trends to improve training and accountability across our operation.
- Sharpen Our Focus on Team Member Concerns: Our People Team will review and improve our internal oversight and resolution for team member discrimination claims. This will include increasing awareness of work environment policies and the process to report concerns, as well as ensuring accountability for team members who violate these policies.