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Pilot Sues for Sexual Discrimination, Claims She Was Fired for Being “Too Short”

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Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


Sculpture of Themis, mythological
(iStock.com/artisteer)

A former NetJets pilot is suing the company for sexual discrimination, claiming she was fired for being “too short” to fly the Embraer Phenom — while male candidates with height issues were reassigned to other aircraft.

Sheri Drerup, who’s been a professional pilot for over 14 years and logged more than 4,000 flight hours, detailed her hiring, training, and termination by NetJets today during a press conference in Los Angeles with her lawyer, Gloria Allred.

The five-foot, two-inch Ms. Drerup says that as part of the hiring and training process, all pilots were physically measured to ensure they’d fit into all the planes in NetJets’ fleet.

She purportedly had difficulty in the Phenom simulator performing full power single-engine and go-around maneuvers. She said she wasn’t able to depress the rudder pedals.

Ms. Dreup’s training pilot allegedly told her she was “just too short” for the airplane. He stated in a written report, “Sheri’s stature precludes sufficient control authority.”

NetJets purportedly suggested she wear platform shoes or use a booster seat to help remedy the situation.

She asked to transfer to a different aircraft — but claims the company told her that if she was too short for the Phenom, she’d be too short in their fleet’s other jets. However, she is type-rated for the Cessna Citation Encore+, which NetJets apparently had in their fleet at the time.

Three other pilots — all males — were too tall for the Phenom. She explains their feet got stuck under the rudder pedals.

Amsterdam, the Netherlands - July 21st 2016: CS-PHC Embraer Phenom 300, approaching Polderbaan runway at Schiphol Amsterdam Airport (iStock.com/studioportosabbia)
Amsterdam, the Netherlands – July 21st 2016: CS-PHC Embraer Phenom 300, approaching Polderbaan runway at Schiphol Amsterdam Airport (iStock.com/studioportosabbia)

All three men, she says, received reassignments to other NetJets aircraft — while she was terminated.

“It was terrible. I went there to have my dream job,” she says, adding NetJets “treated me like a criminal” while taking her gear.

Her chances of being hired by another charter outfit are slim, she said, because of her NetJets firing. She’s allegedly been told that because NetJets terminated her, the other companies aren’t interested.

Since has since worked as a contract/self-employed pilot.

Embraer Phenom’s Cockpit Too Tight?

Ms. Dreup said during the press conference that NetJets apparently had the Phenom’s cockpits resized — so a Keurig coffee maker could be inserted behind the right seat pilot.

What She’s Seeking in the Lawsuit

The federal lawsuit — filed in the eastern division of the southern district of Ohio — seeks “damages in an amount to be proven at trial,” Ms. Allred said. Specifically, she seeks remedy for “pain and suffering, economic damages,” while also asking for “other relief to which she may be entitled.

H/T: KTLA

Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


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5 Comments

  1. “Too short” for the smallest airplane they fly is far different from being “too tall” for the smallest airplane they fly.

    If she’s got male pilots who were also too short, and were transferred, then she has a case. Otherwise? Not.

    “However, she is type-rated for the Cessna Citation Encore+, which NetJets apparently had in their fleet at the time.”

    If they don’t have them now, then they were, at best, phasing them out.

    Hiring a new pilot to work on a plane you’re getting rid of, when you already have plenty of pilots for it, would be stupid.

    “NetJets purportedly suggested she wear platform shoes or use a booster seat to help remedy the situation.”

    If this was indeed her “dream job”, then she should have worn the shoes

  2. Your title is incorrect. That is not sexual discrimination, it’s just discrimination based on height. I suggest you buy a dictionary and learn the meaning of words before you use them.

  3. @HG — That’s what the lawsuit stated. Take it up with the lawyer and plaintiff. Their whole beef is that the taller people reassigned to other aircraft were all men. She asserts she was discriminated against because she’s female.

  4. #Chris:

    And when a lawsuit states that Delta is holding unicorns hostage to power their planes, we would expect Rene to mock that.

    Just like he shouldn’t be repeating her dishonest claims here.

    The key difference between her and the other pilots was height, not sex.

    For it to be a valid sex discrimination lawsuit, there would have to be equally short men who were transferred.

    Which there weren’t.

  5. @Greg: Delta doesn’t hold unicorns hostage. They breed and raise their own unicorns at a ranch in Atlanta. 🙂

    Seriously, though: Rene didn’t write the post. I did, so don’t fault him for anything related to it.

    Thanks for your input. But, again, I didn’t craft or word the lawsuit. People who make far more money than I were the ones in charge of that.

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