Dec 14 2001 11:00AM
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - American Airlines, the world''s largest carrier, was sued for allegedly paying for Viagra pills for its male employees but denying women employees health benefits to pay for birth control pills, pap smears or infertility treatment.
The lawsuit was filed Thursday in federal court in Los Angeles by lawyers for a 36-year-old American Airlines flight attendant who was told that her need for infertility treatment would not be covered by the company''s standard medical plan.
American Airlines said the lawsuit was "absolutely baseless" and would be vigorously contested. Company spokeswoman Andrea Rader said the allegations were false and that the company''s health plans offered employees offer a wide variety of coverage to men and women.
"The health plans are gender neutral as far as we are concerned ... The notion that any female employee has been denied health coverage is simply not true," Rader said.
According to the lawsuit, flight attendant Martina Alexander was told in a 1999 letter from American Airlines that her health plan was designed to cover expenses "medically necessary to sustain life. That is why pap smears, birth control pills and infertility treatment are not covered ... Drugs to treat impotence, such as Viagra, are covered."
"The suggestion that Viagra is 'medically necessary to sustain life' is absurd. To our knowledge no man has ever died because he couldn''t get an erection," Alexander's lawyer, Gloria Allred, told reporters.
They love to fly and it shows. I think they should worry more about not crashing so much.