United Airlines employee accused of racial discrimination

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A United Airlines employee is accused of using a racial slur towards a passenger arriving in Houston.

On Feb. 26, actress and philanthropist Cacilie Hughes was flying home to Houston. After her flight landed, she was waiting for her luggage. She reportedly asked United Airlines employee Carmella Davano a question.

Hughes says Davano began yelling at her and calling her "monkey" and other racial slurs. Other passengers reportedly witnessed the incident and attempted to intervene.

Hughes called the police after she says United employees refused to call officers.

Davano was criminally charged with disorderly conduct for using a racial slur, according to Hughes' attorneys. United officials say they removed Davano from the job and are working to terminate her employment.

"I'm still in shock. I can't believe this happened. I was traveling home from a speaking engagement in Michigan where I made it my mission to empower other women. I finally landed at home in Texas and a United Airlines employee named Carmella publicly humiliated me and called me degrading racial slurs for no reason," Hughes stated. "I am thankful that other passengers stood up for me. Without them I would have been completely alone."

Hughes' attorneys say they will fight for Hughes' civil rights in what they call a pattern of racial discrimination by United Airlines.

United issued the following statement: "At United, we believe that the diversity of our workforce makes us stronger. Together, we proudly hold ourselves to the highest standards of professionalism and have zero tolerance for discrimination of any kind. This incident is deeply offensive and does not reflect the fundamental values of our company and our 90,000 employees. That is why we took immediate action to remove this individual from the job. Since then, we have been following all of the required procedures under this individual's union contract and are actively pursuing termination."
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