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United Airlines flight attendant sues company over right to wear clogs

HOUSTON – A United Airlines flight attendant is suing the company over her right to wear clogs, according to a lawsuit filed on behalf of Edie Hall.

Hall suffers from foot problems and in 2004, her doctor recommended that she wear Danskin clogs, according to the lawsuit.

"I have six screws and two plates in my right foot and so the shoe sits slightly above the plate line  and offers me the width where my toes can fully spread," said Hall. "It keeps the pain levels down for me."

Since high school, Hall has had foot problems. Her doctor eventually said the issues were "permanent," and required multiple surgeries. In 2010, when United merged with Continental Airlines, Hall said things started changing. The doctor's note that allowed her to wear those shoes to and from the plane, was no longer valid, Hall claimed. She said the airlines wanted her to wear something more business-like.

Hall said she tried other options, but United wouldn't accept them. The ones they did approve still hurt her feet. Danskin clogs were the best fit for the job she had to do, she said.

"They're incredibly comfortable and they suit my needs," said Hall.

After the merger, Hall said she had no choice but to keep following the process to wear her shoes.

"They said I would have to go through a Reasonable Accommodation Process, and I was happy to accommodate them in that under the impression that the shoe would be approved," said Hall.

However, Hall claimed she was told at some point that she'd have to take sick leave if she wasn't able to find a suitable shoe. She said she has gone through hoops getting approval to wear the shoes each year and that some years the accommodation to wear the shoes is rescinded.

She says she spent a lot of money on medical bills.

The worst part is, her attorney says United's policy only applied to what shoe's she's wearing from her car to the plane, but not while on the plane itself.

"She can wear the clogs with no problem. what happens though is when she lands, she would have to remove the shoe--according to policy and put on a different shoe," said  Hall's attorney, Robert Debes Jr.

She is accusing the airline of discrimination.

"We ask that United recognize that she has a permanent disability, that she be granted the reasonable accommodation and be permitted to wear this shoe during all four phases of the flight without intimidation or harassment about not being able to fly or having to use her sick days in order to take care of this situation," said Debes Jr.

United released the following statement on the lawsuit:

"We permitted Ms. Hall to wear the shoe of her choice since 2013 and we’ve communicated to her that she may continue to wear the shoe as long as she needs. We do not believe there is any legal basis for this lawsuit."

Hall's attorney said that is simply not true. Debes Jr. said they filed suit last week. United sent them a letter Monday, saying that she would be able to wear the shoes. Debes Jr. said they had heard that before and previous accommodations had been rescinded. He wants to make sure Hall is able to fly without fear.

United did not have any updated statement since KPRC2 spoke with Hall and her attorney.