An ex-Delta Air Lines flight attendant alleges the company’s new uniform, which it introduced in 2018, made her gradually sicker and may have contributed to her ongoing cancer diagnosis.
Regal Summer Owens claimed she was wrongfully fired from her work because of the illness the uniform was allegedly creating when she filed the most recent “toxic uniform” case against Delta in Brooklyn district court on Monday.
In June 2018, Delta debuted its eagerly awaited Zac Posen-designed uniforms, but a week after the rollout, flight attendants began to voice concerns about a new in-flight apron causing skin irritation.
Regal claims that she was one of the flight attendants who experienced problems with the apron, claiming that it instantly resulted in intense itching, redness, swelling, and bruising.
Regal, though, asserts that the issues extended much beyond the in-flight apron. By November 2018, she claims she was experiencing shortness of breath, burning wet eyes, a rash on her buttocks, and itching all over her body.
Regal claims that while working as a flight, she developed fluid-filled blisters on her legs. Soon after, Regal claims she began to have acute weariness, tingling in her fingers and toes, regular migraines, and trouble sleeping.
It wasn’t until March 2020, though, that Regal asked to switch the ‘passport plum’ designer uniform for a black and white alternative uniform of ‘off the rack’ staples.
Regal alleges that by September 2020, when she finally received approval to wear the black-and-white uniform, about half of the JFK-based flight attendants for Delta were already doing so.
Regal claims that although her symptoms subsided when she wore the black and white uniform, she continued to have problems around coworkers who were still sporting the original plum attire.
By the beginning of 2021, Delta had updated its uniform and was getting ready to roll out a new grey uniform made of OEKO-TEX Standard 100 fabric, which signifies that the material used in the garment has undergone testing for potentially hazardous compounds and received the all-clear.
Regal claims she was ‘harassed’ into wearing the grey uniform, but when she started to wear the replacement uniform, her previous symptoms reared their ugly head ‘ten-fold’.
Regal says skin was peeling off her neck and face, and a rash ‘exploded’ across her body. She says she started to call in sick more often due to these symptoms before she was put on unpaid leave by her manager in May 2022.
Regal was fired the next month due to claimed “reliability” problems.
Regal has been identified as having Mycosis Fungoides, a kind of T cell lymphoma. Last month, Delta formally announced the end of the “passport plum” outfit.
An item of the uniform of the old uniform was allegedly found to contain a toxic chemical in levels nearly 10x higher than what the fast-fashion chain H&M would permit, according to lab testing conducted by the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA-CWA)
Additionally, Delta tested 628 uniform pieces in its own independent chemical lab and concluded there was no “attributable health risk” associated with wearing the clothing.