Americans love to travel, there’s no doubt about it. And if you like to travel, you may have already looked into having a job as an airline attendant, since their job is to travel and serve the world.
Considering that half of the U.S. workforce holds a job that is compatible with at least partial telecommuting, the idea of traveling for work isn’t so far fetched. But what is far fetched is the way one company is going about hiring their airline attendants, so much so it is gaining worldwide attention.
Considering that over 30 million Americans traveled overseas back in 2014, you most likely haven’t come in contact with a pregnant airline attendant. That’s because expectant mothers are often advised to not fly during their final trimester, which is something a Spanish airline is coming under fire for trying to uphold.
Iberia Airlines, which is Spain’s national carrier, has made the news for what some people are describing as an act of discrimination against women.
According to the New York Times, as a protocol Iberian Airlines required all female applicants, both for airline attendants and pilots, to take a pregnancy test as a part of their job application. When human resources advocates in Spain raised concerns over this act, Iberia simply claimed that they were taking this measure as a way to ensure safety for all.
Nevertheless, the airline was sued because the rule violated Spanish laws against sexism and gender discrimination because the belief was that if the woman was found to be pregnant, she would not be offered a job from Iberian Airlines.
“There is no reason to justify it,” the Unión General de Trabajadores, one of Spain’s two main labor unions, explained in a statement. Spain’s minister for health, social services, and equality Dolors Montserrat added that this case with Iberian has really created a precedence for other airlines. She explains that Spanish human resource authorities will “continue to be extremely vigilant against any form of work discrimination based on sex or for any other reason.”
Not to mention that labor unions were quite concerned over how Iberian Airlines relieves their cabin crew of their flying duties as soon as they find out they are pregnant, as doctors claim it is completely safe to fly up until the final months of the pregnancy, CNN reports. In fact, the American Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecologists have found that women can travel up to 36 weeks of their pregnancy, and a U.S. Federal Government study found that the rate of miscarriages isn’t any more common in airline attendants than teachers.
As a result of the court case, Iberian Airlines was fined the equivalent of $28,000 American dollars for sexual discrimination practices and has released a statement explaining that they will stop administering the pregnancy tests from here on out. In their official statement, Dr. Maria Teresa Garcia Menendez, Iberian airline administrator said:
“Given the controversy arising from the current protocol in place to protect pregnant women, we will no longer include a pregnancy test in the medical examination for new hires.”
But there is no word on if the tests will be given to pregnant women who are already employees of the airline.