WICHITA, Kan. -

The union that represents several aviation engineers has claimed some employees at a Wichita aviation manufacturer were laid off last year based on their personal health information.

During a news conference Wednesday, SPEEA claimed Spirit Aerosystems cut workers who were near retirement, had serious medical issues, or had family members covered on the employee's health plan that suffered from serious medical conditions.

Spirit responded, saying the company never used employees' personal health information to make lay off decisions.

"While terminations are always difficult, all such decisions are based on job-related, non-discriminatory criteria, and Spirit has made every effort to carry them out with respect for our employees," the company said in a press release.

In September of 2013, Spirit made workforce reductions in salaried and management populations affecting 150 workers. The company said the vast majority of affected employees accepted the company's severance package.

Spirit asked 22 employees to return in November.