American Airlines Suspends Crew Members After Multiple Unrelated Black Passengers Were Removed From One Flight

American Airlines announced that they had taken action following a lawsuit against the airline in May over alleged racial discrimination

<p>Urbanandsport/NurPhoto via Getty </p> American Airlines

Urbanandsport/NurPhoto via Getty

American Airlines

American Airlines has suspended multiple employees following a lawsuit against the airline alleging racial discrimination.

The lawsuit was filed in May by three passengers who were among eight Black men that were removed from a flight in January. The men were all strangers and were not seated near one another, they say.

"We are holding those involved accountable, including removing team members from service," the airline said in a statement to the BBC and AP News.

CEO Robert Isom condemned the January incident in a letter to employees on Tuesday, June 18, adding that they would be taking steps to prevent discrimination.

"I am incredibly disappointed by what happened on that flight and the breakdown of our procedures," Isom wrote. "We fell short of our commitments and failed our customers in this incident."

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<p>CBS Mornings</p> Alvin Jackson, Emmanuel Jean Joseph and Xavier Veal

CBS Mornings

Alvin Jackson, Emmanuel Jean Joseph and Xavier Veal

Related: Black Flight Attendant Unknowingly Has Moving Discussion About Race With White Airline CEO

The CEO announced the company would be having an “advisory group” to focus on improving Black passengers’ experiences and encourage the reporting of discrimination incidents.

American Airlines will provide employee training, create a long-term diversity plan and review operational manuals.

"Be assured that we are steadfast in our commitment to working with the NAACP and other civil rights organizations to learn from this incident, listen to and rebuild trust with you, our team members, and our Black customers, and to delivering the best possible experience with American," the letter read.

On January 5, eight Black men were ordered off an American Airlines plane “because of a complaint about body odor," the suit states.

Related: Eric Andre Says He Was Racially Profiled, Searched by Police at Atlanta Airport: 'This Is Racism'

In court documents obtained by PEOPLE, three of those men — plaintiffs Alvin Jackson, Emmanuel Jean Joseph, and Xavier Veal — claimed American Airlines “engaged in blatant and egregious race discrimination.”

“In fact, it appeared to Plaintiffs that American had ordered all of the Black male passengers on Flight 832 off the plane,” the complaint read.

“We take all claims of discrimination very seriously and want our customers to have a positive experience when they choose to fly with us,” American Airlines told PEOPLE at the time.“Our teams are currently investigating the matter, as the claims do not reflect our core values or our purpose of caring for people.”

The lawsuit also accused the airline of having “a documented history of frequently subjecting Black passengers (and other passengers of color) to differential treatment and bigotry,” referencing a 2017 NAACP travel advisory against the airline, which was lifted in 2018.

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