WestJet denies sex-assault allegations from former B.C. flight attendant

By The Canadian Press
March 22, 2016 - 10:38am Updated: March 22, 2016 - 6:39pm

VANCOUVER — WestJet is denying allegations it failed to take proper action after a former flight attendant complained to management she had been sexually assaulted by a pilot in 2010 while on a stopover in Hawaii.

In a statement of defence filed today in British Columbia Supreme Court, the Calgary-based company says it immediately launched an internal investigation into Mandalena Lewis’s complaint, but was ultimately unable to conclude the unnamed pilot had committed assault.

The airline says the pilot’s behaviour related to excessive drinking, partying and fraternizing with flight attendants failed to meet professional standards.

The document says the airline suspended the pilot, issued him a last-chance warning and depriving him of the privilege of international flights, adding that privacy laws prevented the company from sharing those disciplinary measures with Lewis.

Lewis is also suing WestJet over breach of contract and wrongful dismissal, saying she was terminated because of her repeated requests to view her employee file in order to learn what the company had done about her complaint.

WestJet says its decision to fire Lewis earlier this year was rather the result of her perennially poor attendance, inappropriate use of social media and aggressive communication style.

None of the allegations made in the statement of claim or defence have been proven in court.

The Canadian Press

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