A female pilot has filed a lawsuit against her former employer after, she claims, she was terminated for being “too short” to fly. The lawsuit, filed on the grounds of gender discrimination, states that three male colleagues, who were deemed "too tall," were unfairly reassigned to other jets.
Pilot Shari Drerup, who has been flying for 14 years and has logged approximately 4,000 flight hours as a pilot, says she now feels like a "failure" for having been terminated from her dream job, a staff position with the world's largest private jet company, NetJets.
In 2016, according to the lawsuit, Drerup was hired by NetJets to fly the Phenom aircraft, a small private jet that can carry up to 11 occupants. During training, it was apparent that the 5-foot, 2-inch tall woman would not be able to fly the jet, as she could not “reach fully to the floor with the rudder pedals to control the airplane during single engine operation.”
"I was told by NetJets, 'Go buy a booster seat. Wear platform shoes. Just make it work,'" Drerup said in a press conference. Drerup said that despite implementing those tools, it was clear she could not fly the Phenom.
Being "trained and rated" to fly a Cessna aircraft, used by NetJets, and four other kinds of aircrafts, Drerup expected to be transferred to another jet.
"I went to a meeting the next day, expecting to be transferred to another airplane. And they gave me a termination letter, took my badge, took my credit cards, took my iPad, took my cellphone. And treated me like a criminal," Drerup said. She was terminated in March 2017.
Famed women’s rights attorney Gloria Allred, who is representing Drerup, states that three male colleagues, who were deemed too tall to fly the Phenom, were not terminated. Instead, they were transferred to other planes.
"In my opinion, this constitutes sex discrimination, and is clearly a double standard for male and female pilots," Allred said during the press conference.
Allred went on to say that when Drerup was interviewed for the job, she had asked how many pilots the company employed and how many were women.
"She was told that they had 2,700 pilots, and 71 were women," Allred said. "NetJets was below the national average of their employment of female pilots."
Drerup seeks upwards of $75,000 back pay, front pay or reinstatement, according to the lawsuit.
NetJets did not immediately respond to Yahoo Lifestyle’s requests for comment.
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