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American Airlines strives to maintain an employee work environment that supports the equal rights and opportunities of individuals from many backgrounds and orientations. In continued support of the diversity and inclusion principles outlined in the company's longstanding "Statement of Equal Opportunity," American has reaffirmed its support for S. 811 and H.R. 1397, the Employee Non-Discrimination Act.
Having first communicated its backing of the bill in 2008, American has become a recognized advocate of LGBT communities in the airline industry. In July 2011, American released its updated statement of support for ENDA:
"On behalf of our 80,000 employees, American Airlines is proud to express our strong support for S. 811 and H.R. 1397, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would extend basic job protections to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans. We are proud to have been the first major airline to implement same-sex domestic partner benefits, first to implement both sexual orientation and gender identity in our workplace non-discrimination policies, and first to have a recognized LGBT employee resource group — GLEAM."
The complete statement was signed by Lauri Curtis, American's Vice President — Diversity, Leadership and Engagement; Michael Wascom, American's Managing Director — International and Government Affairs; and Rick Wilbins, Managing Director — Brand and Diversity Markets.
On the evening of Friday, April 22, 2011, the Lambert St. Louis International Airport was hit with what proved to be the region's most powerful tornado since 1967. The twister reached its maximum intensity of "EF4" on the Enhanced Fujita Scale in the town of Bridgeton, just before striking St. Louis International Airport. As the storm passed through, flying debris shattered windows and blocked runways, while a portion of the roof was torn from Concourse C — home of American's operations.
Despite extensive damage to the airport terminal, minimal injuries occurred, and American pilots, crewmembers and airport personnel raced to assist stranded and frightened customers and to restore operations.
Over the course of the Easter weekend, an outpouring of employee volunteers and support staff from American's Agent Away program worked tirelessly to clean up damage at the airport, and, by the following Monday morning, helped to resume flight operations at nearly full capacity from temporary stations in Concourse D.
In a statement, Capt. John Hale, American's Vice President — Flight, expressed his appreciation for the coordinated employee efforts that made the cleanup possible: "People stepped up to the plate and made it happen. Employees were immediately on site following the tornado, volunteering their time and doing what they could to make things better."