The latest legal development following an altercation between a United Airlines employee and one of its customers shines a spotlight on worker safety…or passenger safety, depending upon which side prevails in court.
The employee who was fired after allegedly pushing a 71-year-old man to the ground during an argument, is now countersuing, alleging that he was assaulted by the passenger and that United failed to provide proper training and a safe work environment.
The incident, which occurred in July 2015 at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston, began when Ronald Tigner was denied entry by the TSA for having an illegible ticket. He reportedly approached Alejandro Anastasia to request another boarding pass.
News reports say Tigner claimed that Anastasia and another United employee laughed and cursed at him, and then Anastasia pushed him to the ground.
Anastasia’s $1 million lawsuit alleges that his actions came after Tigner used profanities and racial slurs, advanced on him and stepped on his toe.
Tigner denies using racial slurs.
No United employees came to the assistance of Tigner as he lay on the ground in front of the United ticket counter for nearly a minute. A nurse passing the scene came to his aid.