Former WestJet flight attendant suing airline over alleged sexual assault

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Image: WestJet

A former WestJet flight attendant is suing the airline after a pilot allegedly sexually assaulted her six years ago. Mandalena Lewis says the airline then failed to properly investigate the matter, according to B.C. Supreme Court documents.

Image: Ben Nelms / Vancouver Airport Authority

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Lewis claims that in January of 2010, a pilot sexually assaulted her during a layover in Hawaii, and she reported the incident shortly after. WestJet allegedly told her to keep quiet about the incident and altered her work schedule so she didn’t have to work with the pilot.

Another flight attendant alleges she was also sexually assaulted by the same pilot in 2008, reads Lewis’s claim in the documents. After requesting access to her employment file, she was met with delays, and a subsequent email expressing her frustration led to her firing in 2016 for insubordination and disobedience.

The court documents say Lewis has suffered physical, emotional, and psychological harm stemming from the alleged sexual assault. She’s seeking general, special, and punitive damages, as well as a declaration from WestJet that her dismissal was wrongful.

Vancity Buzz reached out to Lewis for comment, but she is no longer speaking with media. However, a petition has started circulating calling for WestJet CEO Gregg Saretsky to step down and ensure that the sexual assault allegations are properly investigated by the company.

“Women shouldn’t face harassment of any kind at their respective workplaces. Not at this company. Not at any company. And WestJet should know better,” reads the petition that has garnered more than 15,000 signatures at the time of publication.

WestJet has yet to file a statement of defence to Lewis’s claim.

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Lauren Sundstrom Lauren is a Staff Writer and Projects Assistant at Vancity Buzz. She is a graduate of BCIT's Broadcast and Online Journalism program. She loves reporting on breaking news and lifestyle content. If you feel like you have a story that needs to be told, fire her a tweet.
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