Jonathan Rhys Meyers is being sued by an airline worker who claims he drunkenly assaulted her.

The Irish actor - who has gone to rehab on three occasions to receive treatment for alcohol abuse - is accused of downing vodkas and behaving "outrageously and shockingly" by United Airlines customer service director Kathryn Williams.

The case was filed at New York's Supreme Court, with the worker seeking damages of more than $15,000 as she claims she has been unable to attend to her normal duties at the airline since the incident last year.

The lawsuit states: "On May 7, 2010, at approximately 6.00am the defendant committed tortuous acts consisting of verbally and physically abusing plaintiff causing her to sustain physical injuries and severe emotional distress.

"Defendant Jonathan Rhys Meyers wilfully, maliciously, wantonly and without any just cause or provocation assaulted and battered plaintiff Kathryn Williams."

The incident happened after the 'Match Point' star was stopped from getting on a flight at JFK Airport for being too drunk.

He has already been banned for life from travelling on United Airlines planes.

It is not the first time Jonathan has had trouble relating to alcohol consumption in airports - in 2007 he was arrested for being drunk at Dublin Airport, although no charges were brought against him.