ACLU: JetBlue, TSA pay discrimination settlement

Published: Monday, January 5, 2009 at 3:42 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 5, 2009 at 3:42 p.m.

NEW YORK -- The American Civil Liberties Union said Monday JetBlue Airways Corp. and the Transportation Security Administration paid $240,000 to a man who claimed he was discriminated against based on his ethnicity and Arabic writing on his T-shirt.

Raed Jarrar alleged that the TSA and JetBlue officials prevented him from boarding a flight out of New York's John F. Kennedy Airport in August 2006 until he agreed to cover his shirt, which read "We Will Not Be Silent" in English and Arabic. Jarrar also claimed JetBlue eventually allowed him on the flight, but then made him sit at the back of the plane.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed a federal civil rights lawsuit on Jarrar's behalf in August 2007.

A JetBlue spokeswoman was not immediately available to comment on the settlement.

TSA and JetBlue agreed to settle the case for $240,000 late last month and delivered the settlement to Jarrar on Friday, the ACLU said.

The ACLU said a case involving AirTran last week showed this was not an isolated incident.

On New Year's Day, AirTran Airways removed a Muslim family from a flight to Florida after other passengers reported hearing what they thought was a suspicious remark about airplane security. One of the passengers said the confusion started at Reagan National Airport just outside Washington, D.C., when he questioned where the safest place was to sit on an airplane.

AirTran later apologized to the family.

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