A pilot who was fired immediately after being grounded due to his difficulty recognizing different colors while flying at night is suing United Airlines.
When Damon Meyer of Portland, Maine, made a claim for long-term disability through an insurance plan he had just joined, United terminated his employment less than two months after he was recruited.
Public records indicate that Damon Meyer once broke the world record for a single-engine prop aircraft cross-country flight. Meyer established the record by maintaining the specially modified aircraft in the air for more than 12 hours while flying his tiny Canard prop plane between Ontario, California and Portland in 2015.
Meyer has been a licensed pilot for many years, but he didn’t decide to pursue a career in commercial aviation until he left a lengthy career in the information technology industry in 2020.
Meyer obtained a position as a pilot with United Airlines in 2022, and a short while after he was enrolled in the airline’s long-term disability program.
Meyer was allegedly forced to ground himself less than a month after being employed due to his inability to distinguish between various colors. This was particularly problematic for him when flying at night because he couldn’t tell what color the taxiway signals were.
Meyer submitted a long-term disability claim with United six days after enrolling in the insurance plan and one day after being grounded.
United Airlines terminated Meyer’s employment the following month, claiming that Meyer would “not have met the requirements for a valid medical license at the time he was hired” – a claim that Meyer says is a “ludicrous theory”.
Meyer disputes the reasons for his dismissal, claiming that not only did he have a current medical license when United employed him, but also that there is no medical proof that his vision issues existed prior to United extending him a job offer.
It is “purely speculative,” according to the lawsuit, that Meyer would have failed a medical examination if one had been conducted soon before he was recruited by United.
Meyer’s claims were first accepted by the long-term disability plan administrators, but they revoked the reimbursement because of the end of his work.
Meyer has filed a case in a district court in Maine, seeking compensation for his color blindness from United and the long-term disability plan’s administrators. According to the lawsuit, Meyer remains “totally disabled”.