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American Airlines Fires Worker For Responding to Customer Complaint

Ever since they started cutting costs in the face of an industry-wide slowdown a few years ago, airlines haven't exactly been Mr. Popular among traveling consumers. Long lines and delays have left most passengers dismayed and disgruntled. And now, one airline in particular faces a growing PR crisis after firing one of its employees over... defending his company?

The former worker, identified only by the mysterious "Mr. X," was a Web designer for American Airlines, and, as Web designers are wont to do, found himself online one day, browsing through blogs. One post, in particular, gave him pause. Fellow designer Dustin Curtis composed an extensive open letter to the airline, complaining about its Web site, suggesting an alternative look, and recommending that it fire its Web design team. Mr. X, upon reading the blog, courteously responded via e-mail, saying that Curtis was "so very right," but noting that any Web inadequacies had less to do with staff incompetency and more to do with the "internal culture" of the company. According to the Telegraph, he also assured Curtis that the site was under renovation, and that improvements would be forthcoming.

At this point, American Airlines stepped in. Apparently, in speaking to Curtis, Mr. X violated a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) that he had signed with the airline and that prohibited him from revealing "sensitive information." The airline then searched its database, found his e-mail, and fired him. For his part, Curtis defended Mr. X, writing. "AA fired Mr X because he cared. They fired him because he cared enough to reach out to a dissatisfied customer and help clear the company's name in the best way he could."

We couldn't agree more. Though it may technically be considered a violation of the NDA, we're not so sure anything the employee said was all that sensitive. If anything, it was positive news he was spreading. Moreover, he was doing it in an exceedingly gracious and conciliatory manner -- something that's become increasingly rare in the industry as a whole. We're not sure, but we have a hunch that there's some other, hidden, story here (perhaps the whole "internal culture" comment?). Either way, we think it's a pretty egregious injustice, and we hope something's done to remedy it. [From: The Telegraph]

Tags: airlines, american airlines, AmericanAirlines, employment, fired, top, workplace



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