What to Know
- In 2015, NetJets hired Shari Drerup to fly their Phenom aircraft.
- She said she is "trained and rated" to fly five other kinds of aircraft, including a Cessna used by NetJets.
- Allred said three male colleagues were allowed to transfer to other planes because they were too tall to fly the Phenom.
A woman about to land her dream job filed a lawsuit after she says she was terminated for being too short too fly a certain aircraft, but in other instances where men were too tall to fly the same plane, they were given other jobs, the woman and her attorney said Tuesday.
Shari Drerup, represented by famed attorney Gloria Allred, said it was supposed to be her dream job: a staff position with NetJets Aviation based in Columbus, Ohio.
But it all fell through.
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"I go home a failure, basically," she said.
In 2015, NetJets hired Drerup to fly their Phenom aircraft. It's a light jet aircraft that can carry up to 11 occupants. It's a plane the company touts on its website as "one of the finest small private jets in the industry."
But during her training, it soon became clear that Drerup simply could not fly it.
Her legs could not properly reach the pedals.
"I was told by NetJets, 'Go buy a booster seat. Wear platform shoes. Just make it work,'" Drerup said.
She admits she does not have the stature to safely pilot the Phenom.
She says she even told her trainers this, and said she made sure they knew she was "trained and rated" to fly five other kinds of aircraft, including a Cessna used by NetJets.
"I went to a meeting the next day, expecting to be transferred to another airplane. And they gave me a termination letter, took my badge, took my credit cards, took my iPad, took my cellphone. And treated me like a criminal," Drerup said.
To make matters worse, her attorney Allred said three male colleagues were allowed to transfer to other planes because they had the opposite problem: They were too tall to fly the Phenom.
"In my opinion, this constitutes sex discrimination, and is clearly a double standard for male and female pilots," Allred said.
"They should've said, 'You know what? We've got other aircrafts in the fleet. You're a good pilot; let's put you in another airplane.' But they didn't," Drerup said.
NetJets said it would not comment on pending litigation.
While NetJets has a regional office at the Van Nuys Airport, the lawsuit was filed in a federal court in Ohio.