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Published on Tuesday, April 23, 2019

United Airlines worker charged for racially abusing passenger

A United Airlines staffer has been charged for racially abusing a passenger.

Carmella Davano was initially given a citation by the Houston Police Department for profane and abusive language in a public place.

Now she has been charged with misdemeanor disorderly conduct, according to court papers.

Black woman Cacilie Hughes says Davano repeatedly subjected her to racial slurs on February 26 in the United terminal at George Bush Intercontinental Airport.

"I walked up to the woman, Carmella, and said, 'Hi, do you have a refund code available?' and she started yelling at me, calling me a monkey," Hughes told the New York Times.

"I was humiliated, I was crying and I was the only black woman in the area."

Hughes asked another employee to call the police but they refused. Hughes then alerted the police herself.

Houston Police Department said two witnesses corroborated Hughes' account and heard Devano utter racial slurs.

Devano has been off duty since the incident.

"We have withheld the employee from service since the night of the incident pending an internal investigation. Upon conclusion of the investigation, we will take any and all appropriate corrective action up to and including termination," United said in a statement.

"At United, we proudly hold ourselves to the highest standards of professionalism and have zero tolerance for discrimination of any kind."

However an attorney representing Ms. Hughes said United has failed to adequately 'train employees to interact with minority customers'.

'Flying while black' incidents have plagued the industry in recent years.

Two years ago the NAACP took unprecedented action in issuing a travel advisory for African-Americans 'to exercise caution' when traveling with American Airlines due to 'disrespectful, discriminatory or unsafe conditions'.

That led to a revamped diversity and inclusion training program for customer facing employees at the airline.

The NAACP dropped the advisory nine months later after lauding American for its progress.

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