Wednesday 19 June 2019

Airline fined over ‘sexist’ pregnancy tests for job applicants


Hannah Strange

Spanish airline Iberia has been fined for asking female job applicants to undergo pregnancy tests, prompting an outcry over sexism.

Iberia, which formed a $6bn (€5.2bn) alliance with British Airways in 2010, was criticised on social media after claiming the measure was aimed at ensuring “the well-being of the baby and future mother”.

It had argued that the test for flight crew applicants was not intended to filter out expectant mothers, but to make sure they were placed in roles that would not involve any risk to the pregnancy.

But authorities in Majorca – where the practice was originally discovered – rejected that claim, ordering Iberia to pay €25,000 for what they described as a serious act of gender discrimination.

Iago Negueruela, the work, trade and industry secretary for the Balearic Islands government, said Iberia was guilty of a “very grave infraction” and that men and women could not be given different tests for access to work.

Iberia had not been asking male applicants if they were going to become fathers, Mr Negueruela told Cadena Sur radio, insisting: “Any practice of this type must be excluded from the job market.”

Iberia has now said it will drop the requirement and instead “trust” its female employees to notify their bosses of pregnancies. As it attempted to fend off a barrage of criticism yesterday, it insisted it had “at no moment” refused a woman for a position because she was pregnant.

The company stressed that since the beginning of 2016 it had moved 60 female employees to alternative roles due to pregnancies and that 71pc of its cabin crew were women.

The Spanish trade union UGT (General Union of Workers) said airlines were obliged to protect pregnant workers from posts that might put their unborn babies at risk, but that pregnancy tests before hiring constituted “a clear case of discrimination”.

The sanction comes at a time when Spanish authorities are cracking down on sexist hiring practices across the country.

In one high-profile case, a restaurant in Galicia last year advertised for a female waitress who was “hard-working, responsible, pretty and a little bit slutty,” newspaper ‘Diario de Mallorca’ said. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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